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Sydney stagnated by planning and infrastructure issues: Hazzard

By Vivienne Kelly
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Australia’s largest capital city isn’t full but has been held back by inadequate infrastructure spending and ineffective planning, according to the NSW planning and infrastructure minister.

Speaking at the BIS Shrapnel Building Forecasting Conference yesterday, Brad Hazzard, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure said that when former Premier Bob Carr declared Sydney was full, he couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I must say I was in parliament at the time [the statement was made] and I thought that was an incredibly silly thing to say for a very intelligent man – because no city is ever full, what is has is an infrastructure issue or a planning issue,” he said. “And that’s common to world cities, but they’re not full, because if they’re full then they’re cities that are heading towards death, rather than life, rather than invigoration.”

Mr Hazzard said when the Coalition state government took power in 2011 there was an estimated $35 billion backlog in infrastructure spending, which was inevitably holding back housing and development in New South Wales.

“You can’t separate those two issues. Housing and infrastructure are integral to each other,” he said.

The minister said despite the issues faced by Australia’s largest city, developers and investors should feel confident spending in New South Wales.

Mr Hazzard said the proposed new planning legislation as well as increased infrastructure spending would help put Sydney back on track, but reminded the audience that his government didn’t have an endless supply of money.

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