A new Metro rail line, dam and motorway are among 10 major infrastructure projects which will be accelerated to keep people in jobs and the economy moving.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the projects were part of the new Priority Assessment Program that followed the successful Planning System Acceleration Program, established in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our emergency response to the impacts of COVID-19 was swift, decisive and effective in supporting the economy and health of our people,” Stokes says.
“We used the impetus of the pandemic to shape a more efficient planning system, accelerating decisions on 101 projects in 24 weeks and creating opportunities for more than 50,000 jobs – almost double our original target.
“We also facilitated $25 billion in investment and the creation of more than four million square metres of open space and environmental conservation land.”
A similar fast-tracked assessment program of shovel-ready projects set up in Victoria has only generated $7.5 billion worth of investment since March.
Stokes says the new program will prioritise longer-term, public and private projects earlier in the planning system and included a Metro station in Western Sydney, a new dam at Dungowan near Tamworth, and a new M12 Motorway to connect the M7 with Western Sydney Airport.
“These projects will need to be strategically important to the State or a region and provide considerable investment and public benefit. They have a timeline of up to 18 months, as opposed to the six-month ‘shovel-ready’ projects that were fast-tracked in the initial response to the pandemic,” Mr Stokes said.
“The projects will be accelerated through the planning system, targeting construction commencement in late 2021 or early 2022.
“We must keep up the momentum and move beyond short-term stimulus with projects that will deliver growth and jobs in the medium term and this second acceleration phase does just that.”
The first 10 projects to be considered by the program are State Significant Infrastructure projects and include:
- A new transmission connection between the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro and generation project to the existing high voltage transmission network;
- An airport Metro line to service Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis;
- An M12 Motorway dual-carriageway to connect the M7 Motorway with the Western Sydney Airport and The Northern Road;
- Four Inland Rail construction projects - Illabo to Stockinbingal, Narrabri to North Star (Phase 2), North Star to Border, Narromine to Narrabri;
- A new dam at Dungowan and better delivery pipeline linking to the Callala Water Treatment Plant in the Peel Valley;
- Two EnergyConnect projects (NSW – Western and Eastern Sections) - new 330 kV transmission lines connecting the NSW and South Australia transmission networks.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has begun assessing these projects.