| 30.12,11. 01:12 AM |
Barry O'Farrell's three-term vision
December 30, 2011
A SECRET plan mapped out by Barry O'Farrell has revealed the Premier will stagger his infrastructure wishlist over 12 years, effectively freezing out his leadership rivals.
As part of his long-term strategy to privatise key assets, Mr O'Farrell is expected to take a plan to sell the state's power poles to the 2015 state election to free up funds.
Top of his priority list are the north and southwest rail lines, widening of the M5 and the Pacific Highway and a northern beaches hospital.
But long-suffering commuters and other NSW residents will have to wait for the improvements, much to the annoyance of industry groups.
"Barry is in for the long haul. It's a three-term proposition," he said. "He has a very set plan and he is sticking to it. If you look at his check-list and what he told these industry groups that he'd sign off on, he has more or less done that."
But industry and lobby groups this week handed The Daily Telegraph their report cards on Mr O'Farrell's first nine months as Premier.
Retailers, motorists and farmers are united in wanting better roads - and they don't want to wait more than a decade for them.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia CEO Brendan Lyon said the government needed to make more budget cuts to deliver vital projects.
But government insiders said Mr O'Farrell's approach was to tick-off his "infrastructure priorities one by one".
The M4, M5 east duplication and Princes Highway projects are dependent on federal funding or further privatisation.
Mr Lyon cited the North West Rail Link, M5 motorway widening, convention centre upgrade and social housing projects as good starting points. "Projects like the M5 East and northern beaches hospital are no-brainers and should be part of the government's New Year's resolutions."
NRMA president Wendy Machin said: "NSW residents have been understandably cynical at promises and plans that are not followed through.
"We need an integrated plan. This must be a plan that has robust costings, realistic timeframes and plans for how to fund major projects."