Thursday 4th Jun, 2020

Rail the next step for economic stimulus: Committee for Sydney

The Committee for Sydney has prioritised infrastructure investment as essential to the viability of Sydney and Australia.

Responding to the federal government’s fiscal stimulus package to address the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Gabriel Metcalf wrote that infrastructure should be included in future rounds of stimulus. In particular, Metcalf highlighted the importance of rail projects.

“Medium-sized projects like More Trains, More Services in Sydney or the level crossings program in Melbourne, deliver huge benefits to commuters and to the economy. Even some larger projects could begin construction within 12-18 months if funding were allocated (most importantly, the initial tunnelling packages for Metro West),” wrote Metcalf.

While Metcalf argued that infrastructure spending had fallen out of favour as the time it took to see projects to completion has increased, the early stages of an infrastructure project are as valuable to the wider economy as other forms of stimulus.

“The planning work counts as stimulus too. The engineers, architects, and designers are also going to need jobs,” wrote Metcalf.

Other positives noted by the Committee for Sydney included the long-term benefit of infrastructure, beyond the immediate crisis, and the value of infrastructure investment as a signal to improve business confidence.

While many infrastructure projects were listed in the Infrastructure Australia Priority List, the Committee for Sydney noted that other rail projects are also in need of investment. These include, metro from Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park, Kogarah, and Epping; expansion of Sydney Light Rail to Green Square; and fast rail from Sydney to Newcastle and Wollongong.

Mayor of Georges River Council Kevin Greene welcomed the comments from the Committee for Sydney, according to comments in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.

“Georges River Council warmly welcomes the support of this rail connection – it will completely transform the possibilities for Kogarah and fulfil the role envisaged for it in the GSC’s planning,” said Greene.


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