NSW urged to reconsider megaprojects

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The state’s independent advisory body has urged the NSW government to reconsider a number of its infrastructure ‘megaprojects’ as rising costs call into question their benefits to the state.

The new report, State Infrastructure Strategy 2022-2044: Staying Ahead, from Infrastructure NSW, calls on the government to balance its portfolio of large projects with small and medium-sized activities.

The report, released on Tuesday, also urges the government to reconsider the need for and timing of major road and rail development.

This includes the Beaches Link, the M6 ​​Stage 2, the second stage of the Parramatta Light Rail, the Great Western Highway Central Tunnel between Katoomba and Lithgow, further stages of the Sydney Metro and major regional dam projects.

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The report urges the government to reconsider every large-scale project and recommends creating a process for sequencing and prioritizing projects, and diversifying funding sources to firm up future delivery.

The government will also need to ensure there are enough construction workers to meet the growing demand, he says.

The report also calls on the government to diversify the state’s water supply and includes five water-related recommendations.

Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes said the state’s $110 billion infrastructure pipeline will continue, but the government will look closely at the report’s recommendations.

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“This record delivery of infrastructure will continue, but we must now consider the global challenges that affect us and TAUT advice of Infrastructure NSW,” said Mr Stokes.

“The report provides us with clear recommendations to diversify our infrastructure portfolio, consider smaller projects while continuing to deliver on city- and state-shaping projects.”

Infrastructure NSW board chairman Graham Bradley said the government should keep infrastructure investment high while diversifying its pipeline.

“We need to find a balance between the megaprojects of the past decade and more small and medium-sized projects that can deliver great value and be more reliably delivered in a time of tight construction market,” said Mr. Bradley.

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“A significant program of investment in major transformative projects will continue, with 155 major projects to be completed over the next decade.”

The government also faces major, long-term challenges around water security and its sustainable use and allocation, Infrastructure NSW said.

“(The) NSW Government will need to increase rainfall independent supply, better manage scarce water resources and work closely with local councils to increase water storage and recycled use,” the report said.

In regional areas, the government should encourage local investments that ensure that all communities have access to quality water.

Infrastructure NSW made a total of 57 recommendations.

– PAA

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