NSW has let freight industry down: IPA

By: Jason Whittaker


The New South Wales Government is condemning the freight industry to increased congestion and productivity losses unless it commits to

The New South Wales Government is condemning the freight industry to increased congestion and productivity losses unless it commits to critical infrastructure projects, according to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA).

The peak industry body has criticised the State’s mini-budget that was handed down yesterday after Treasurer Eric Roozendaal announced massive cuts to infrastructure investment.

IPA Executive Director Brendan Lyon has labelled the budget "a profound disappointment for business", saying it ignores the importance of high quality freeways linking Sydney with Brisbane and Melbourne.

He claims the short-term savings will have long-term consequences because the Budget does nothing to address congestion, which already costs NSW $11 million a day.

"Without a massive investment in public transport and the completion of major road networks, this cost will double by 2015," Lyon says.

Lyon says it is essential the Government commits to infrastructure because it generates employment and liquidity into the economy while increasing productivity and growth.

He says the Government must tell the public when it plans on completing missing motorway links on the M4 and F3 and when the F6 and M5 will be finished.

"Long promised major projects like the M4 East, M5 expansion and major freight, public transport and health projects have been put off unless there is a federal bailout of NSW," Lyon says.

But he has told the Rudd Government to resist any calls to use the $20 billion Building Australia Fund to prop up the Rees Government, saying it is not "a get-out-of-jail card for state governments".

According to Lyon, there is no excuse to cut capital investment projects because of current global economic conditions.

"We accept the need for the Government to reprioritise spending, but major infrastructure projects are the best way to safeguard employment and shore up the economy in difficult circumstances," he says.

Roozendaal claims the cuts are necessary as a result of a $917 million State deficit.

A number of port dredging projects have also been deferred, while the Government will increase toll charges on a time-of-day basis.

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