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A new law introduced to parliament yesterday has the potential to make New South Wales government planning more meaningful, according to the Urban Taskforce.
The Taskforce’s chief executive Aaron Gadiel said the Infrastructure NSW Bill 2011 imposes a statutory requirement on the state government to pursue medium and long-term infrastructure planning.
“No state government has ever attempted to impose this level of discipline on itself before,” Mr Gadiel said.
“The O’Farrell Government should be congratulated for these early, positive steps.”
Under the bill before Parliament, Infrastructure NSW must prepare and submit to the Premier a 20 year state infrastructure strategy.
The strategy must assess the current condition of the state’s infrastructure and the state’s infrastructure needs for the next 20 years.
Mr Gadiel said that the 20 year strategy was likely to be a better platform for the state’s development than the various regional strategies previously prepared by the Department of Planning.
“In the last six years, we’ve seen a succession of plans that promised infrastructure, but were poorly thought-out, without a serious commitment from government,” he said.
“The approach outlined in today’s bill suggests a far more rigorous approach is about to commence.”
Mr Gadiel said the most important document would be the five year infrastructure plan which will identify specific major infrastructure projects to be undertaken as a priority in that period.
“That’s because medium term projections are more meaningful than pie-in-the-sky long range forecasts,” he said.
“If the government follows through on this process, there will be a much more systematic infrastructure planning process for the state’s infrastructure.
“Given the clear problems that parts of NSW have had in coping with urban expansion, we’ll urge the Premier to identify the urban infrastructure necessary to support growth as a significant sector requiring special planning,” he said.