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Keneally right on infrastructure

October 8, 2010

One of the reasons Labor was on the defensive in NSW during the Federal election (although the outcome was basically good) was the failure of the Federal government to invest in Sydney infrastructure. Its agency, Infrastructure Australia, doled out cash to Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. But Sydney got nothing.

And some wonder why there was a backlash against massive immigration in Sydney’s west.

In other words, the Federal government – under Howard as much as under Labor – was ramping up the immigration intake, running at double previous levels, and saying to Sydney, “drop dead”.

I’m sick of Federal governments running overambitious immigration targets and doing nothing for Sydney infrastructure. The last government to out money into urban infrastructure was Whitlam’s, as far as Sydney is concerned,.

That’s why I welcome Premier Keneally hitting the Federal government with the submission, posted on the web last night, seeking support for the North West rail link, the M2-F3 link, M4 East, M5 East expansion and the Northern Sydney freight rail corridor.

If Federal governments think they can settle on a high immigration intake and do nothing for the infrastructure of Australia’s largest city they must be pressed to think again.

Rolling up to support a rail link from Chatswood to Parramatta in the middle of  a Federal election ranks as one of the three great blunders of that campaign.

It was the wrong project to fund and a commitment to Sydney infrastructure should have been made in a considered way, early in the life of the government.

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