State leaders call on Canberra for funding of vital projects
GLADYS Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have made a formal request in writing for Canberra to commit and bring forward desperately needed funding for shovel-ready infrastructure projects in Sydney.
In the letter dated November 7 sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the NSW leaders have asked the Commonwealth to bring forward crucial funding to assist the state in getting the Sydney Metro West and the Sydney Metro Greater West moving.
The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that the State Government currently faces a $30 billion funding shortfall to build the mammoth infrastructure pipeline it has announced into the future.
"We appreciate the Commonwealth Government's funding for projects such as the Pacific Highway and WestConnex," extracts of the letter provided to The Daily Telegraph state.
"But in the context of the scale of the task, we are asking the Commonwealth Government to commit further funding and bring forward funding for NSW infrastructure projects."
The letter specifically points to the metro west - the high speed link between the CBD and Parramatta - which will cost in excess of $20 billion and only has $6 billion in funding so far.
It also points to the North South metro, which will connect the to new Western Sydney Airport and is set to be funded in a 50/50 partnership from both levels of government.
"As equal partners in the project, reprofiling of Commonwealth funding to reflect the 50/50 contribution by our governments is necessary," the letter says.
In an interview published on Friday, Mr Perrottet told The Daily Telegraph a combination of borrowing more money at record low rates and continuing the asset recycling program pioneered by Mike Baird would bridge the gap.
There was also a clear expectation that Canberra would chip in more.
However Premier Berejiklian left some confused when she told The Bradfield Oration lunch on Friday that "the dollars are there" - despite the government already going into $38 billion in debt in the forward estimates.
The Daily Telegraph has been told the Premier was indicating accessing the dollars was achievable, and mainly was conveying that the bigger problem was the capacity of the market to build so many big things at once.
Mr Perrottet will raise the issue of federal funding for state infrastructure projects with his state counterparts at the Board of Treasurer's Meeting in Adelaide on Friday.
Mr Perrottet told The Daily Telegraph that "if NSW goes well then so does the nation".
"We are spending more on infrastructure per person than any other major state in Australia and will continue to do so over the next four years."
"Projects like Sydney Metro West and Metro Greater West are city-shaping projects that will have huge benefits for Sydney and the State and the Commonwealth Government should support that."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was "open to identifying opportunities", which he stated in October.
"At the recent Treasurer's meeting in October I discussed with my state and territory counterparts that where state and territory governments are ready to deliver existing projects ahead of time, the Commonwealth remains open to identifying opportunities where both levels of government can support the early delivery of projects," he said.
"The Prime Minister has also asked Ministers to prioritise projects with low delivery risk and which provide greatest economic benefit for their states, and in particular projects which can be expedited in 2019-20."