Out-Law News 2 min. read
23 Mar 2023, 2:14 pm
With the New South Wales (NSW) state elections on 25 March fast approaching, it is timely to look at the promises made by the two major parties relating to investment in renewables and infrastructure
While the incumbent Coalition government (Liberal and National parties) has been in power for over 12 years, the recent swing of political preference across Australia means it is important to seriously consider NSW Labor’s proposals from opposition.
Labor has announced its Fresh Start Plan, which sets out six pillars to tackle prevalent issues like rising costs of living, including by investment in infrastructure and energy. For Labor, this includes a clear commitment to move away from privatisation and a focus more on government backed projects.
Similarly, the current Coalition government promises to continue its focus on strong spending in energy and infrastructure if it is re-elected; however the Liberals have not ruled out privatisation as a means of funding.
While both parties take different approaches with their renewable energy policies, ultimately both approaches will see significant additional funding flow to the development of renewable energy projects in the State.
Labor to fund infrastructure without privatisation
The Labor party plans to start construction of the delayed Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 in its first term of government and will invest an additional A$200 million to finalise planning and procurement. This commitment will mean the realisation of a project the NSW Liberals first promised in June 2014. Labor will fund this project with money saved through the abolition of the Transport Asset Holding Entity, which currently manages the state’s rail assets and infrastructure.
Labor’s Fresh Start Plan also promises to end the privatisation of essential public transport services and instead deliver toll relief by introducing an AU$60 weekly toll cap.
NSW Labor will look to extend rail lines from Western Sydney to Macarthur and pledging an additional AU$40 million to assess the viability of the extension from St Marys to Tallawong. Commitments to building and upgrading schools and hospitals and pilot “Build to Rent” on the South Coast of the State also figure in Labor’s Fresh Start Plan.
More controversially, earlier in March the ABC reported NSW Labor’s announcement that it would pause plans for the development of Australia’s longest road tunnel, the Great Western Highway upgrade, and divert funds to repairing damaged roads if it wins the election.
The NSW Liberals have set out ‘Our Plan for NSW’ which includes their plans to invest A$76.7bn in road and rail projects, A$11.9bn in health infrastructure, A$8.9bn in schools, and technical and further education.
In infrastructure, in addition to the ongoing delivery of Western Sydney Airport and Sydney Metro, their plan includes a commitment of over AU$600m to commence early works and planning of the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, and continuing to mitigate drought risk in local communities through the A$1.1bn Safe and Secure Water program.
In early February, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet claimed the state had no immediate plans to sell more assets, but stopped short of ruling out the possibility of privatisation as an option to fund future projects.
Although we may be starting to see a slow-down in the infrastructure boom that NSW has enjoyed in recent years, both parties are emphasising that spending on infrastructure will continue into the future, as a significant driver of property market demand and an important part of ensuring NSW’s position as a key location for investment into the sector.
Co-written by Richard Beauchamp of Pinsent Masons.
22 Jun 2022