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NSW Premier Mike Baird has indicated that he wants a co orinated approach to regional development similar to what happens in London. NSW Premier Mike Baird has indicated that he wants a co orinated approach to regional development similar to what happens in London. Featured
10 May 2014 Posted by 


London style authority preferred

By Anthony Stavrinos

NSW Premier Mike Baird says he is proud to have oversight of Western Sydney among his upgraded responsibilities after shocking ICAC developments elevated him into the top job.

And he says work is under way to establish a London-style Greater Sydney Authority to coordinate decision making among Sydney’s 43 local councils and various statutory authorities.

“It will be an honour and a privilege to serve as Minister for Western Sydney, so that we can maintain and amplify the focus that this government has on this crucial region,” Mr Baird said.

“Over the past three years, with Barry O’Farrell as Minister for Western Sydney, the region has progressed in leaps and bounds.

“On a recent visit to businesses in the area, I was struck by the enthusiasm for our Jobs Action Plan, under which businesses that create a new position receive a $5000 payroll tax rebate on that position.

He said the Plan had now supported the creation of more than 46,000 positions across the state, with more than 10,500 jobs in Greater Western Sydney alone.

“Along with more jobs in Greater Western Sydney, we are making it easier for residents in this vibrant, go-ahead region to live closer to where their jobs are, by delivering key infrastructure for unlocking new housing supply and significant employment lands,” Mr Baird said.

“There have been seven major precinct rezonings in the Growth Centres in Western Sydney since the NSW Liberals & Nationals came to office.”

He said those seven rezonings combined, will see the construction of almost 50,000 new houses.

And as far as vital infrastructure is concerned, Mr Baird said nothing ranked higher in the NSW Government’s priorities than the 33 km WestConnex motorway.

“WestConnex will eventually cut the duration of a journey from Parramatta to Sydney Airport by about 40 minutes. It is the single largest transport project in Australia,” he said.

“And talking of airports, perhaps the most exciting initiative of all, announced last week, will be the construction of a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.

“The airport will generate about 4000 jobs during construction and will support no fewer than 60,000 jobs over time.”

Mr Baird said there would be $3.5 billion worth of infrastructure upgrades in connection with the airport, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW.

“These initiatives and projects are transforming Greater Western Sydney and I can’t wait to be a part of it,” he said.

The Premier said establishing a Greater Sydney Authority was definitely on the drawing board.

“It is clear we have so many moving parts across the city that we need to ensure our co-ordination is right,’’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

“We have started some work looking at this — I certainly support that approach.”

Meanwhile, the NSW Liberal Party is in turmoil as the ICAC spotlight on dubious political fundraising strategies intensifies.

Mr Baird became Premier last month after his predecessor, Barry O’Farrell, was caught out over a $3,000 bottle of wine he told ICAC he was unaware of, before being shown a handwritten thankyou note, specifically referring to the bottle of Grange.

Premier Baird’s elevation triggered a cabinet reshuffle which saw five new faces promoted to cabinet and four ministers dropped.

Gone are Attorney General Greg Smith, Local Government Minister Don Page, Environment Minister Robyn Parker, Hospitality and Racing Minister George Souris.

Promoted were Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet, who became Minister for Finance and Services; Pittwater MP Rob Stokes became Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning; Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell became Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health.

Two National Party members were also promoted. Dubbo  MP Troy Grant became Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts and Bathurst MP Paul Toole became Minister for Local Government.

But since announcing his reshuffle, there have been another ICAC casualty, Police Minister Mike Gallacher, who Mr Baird had earmarked for an expanded portfolio. Mr Gallacher stood aside after accusations from ICAC he was involved in facilitating illegal donations involving former Mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler.

Mr Baird is expected to soon announce a second cabinet reshuffle.


Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.