Asset recycling and infrastructure expenditure sets the building blocks of the future prosperity of NSW

17 June 2014

The NSW budget gives confidence that a strategy is in place to develop much needed infrastructure through asset sales so that future growth is supported, says the Urban Taskforce.


“After 3 years in power in NSW, the government has managed debt and put in place a sustainable financial structure,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “The sale of assets (and the potential sale of half the poles and wires) has raised funds to provide essential infrastructure to support the states anticipated extra 2 million people over 20 years.”


“Funds have been reserved for $400 million towards the light rail around Parramatta and this should support increased growth along the route. The CBD and SE light Rail also gets funding of $265 million along with continuing funding of the North West and South West Railways.”


“The Housing Acceleration Fund has $83 million dollars allocated for the next year to provide infrastructure to help the supply of new housing.”


“In an effort to get local support for Urban Activation Precincts, funds have been allocated for local communities to expend on urban improvements. The funds start out low at $12 million for the first year rising to $24m and then $50m. The government must make it very clear that the urban improvement funds are only available to communities that support strong growth.”


“There is no funding allocated for the recently announced Greater Sydney Commission although the $11 million allocated to planning reform could help set this up. Funding continues for the Planning Assessment Commission and the Joint Regional Planning Panels at $8.5 million so they presumably continue within the framework of the proposed Commission.”


“E-Planning gets a real boost with an allocation of $22 million. For the last 3 years there has been much talk about the potential of new technologies to rethink how planning occurs and it now looks like becoming a reality. The restructuring of planning around a customer focussed online portal could be the best way to reform the whole system.”


“To encourage more first home buyers into the market the budget lifts the threshold for the grant to $750,000. As a response to some concerns in the community about foreign investment in the housing market, the New Home Owners Grant will only be available to Australian citizens and permanent residents. This could slow down housing supply although it is not thought that there are many foreign investors claiming a grant.”


“With an election only 9 months away, the first Andrew Constance budget has no real surprises and gives a picture of a well-managed state, retaining its AAA rating. NSW urgently needs infrastructure investment to support the growth and prosperity of the State. The Urban Taskforce welcomes the government’s commitment to NSW’s economic growth.”


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