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There is no infrastructure crisis, declares NSW ports minister

<p>New South Wales roads, ports, and economic reform minister Michael Costa said he "does not believe there is an infrastructure crisis in this country".</p> <p>There is work to be done at specific bottlenecks, but the infrastructure issue has been "grossly overstated", he told a Shipping Australia lunch at Parliament House in Sydney yesterday (Wednesday, April 20). </p> <p>Paraphrasing former prime minister Paul Keating, Mr Costa said: "Every galah is now talking about a crisis without identifying what it is." </p> <p>Mr Costa said the pressure is partly because of the buoyancy of the economy, and the task should be to "make sure that we invest properly".</p> <p>"We should avoid a false boom driven by merchant bankers without proper co-ordination of what’s needed.</p> <p>"We are not going to make irrational planning decisions just because there are lots of dollars around looking for somewhere to be invested," he said. </p> <p>Mr Costa stressed that Sydney’s long-awaited metro freight strategy for road, rail, and intermodal capacity will follow directly on from the decision on Port Botany expansion, with the Commission of Inquiry expected to report in June ahead of a final decision by infrastructure minister Craig Knowles.</p> <p>"Once we get that decision, everything will click into place," he said. </p> <p>Mr Costa also said that he had been discussing with federal transport minister John Anderson a high speed road link between Sydney and Queensland, separated from the Pacific Highway.</p> <p>The government had helped to bring the capital markets to projects in Newcastle, for example, by its land preservation strategy and by creating certainty.</p> <p>Sydney Ports Corporation chief executive Greg Martin told the lunch that the delay in a decision over the Melbourne channel deepening had "sent shock waves through the industry". </p> <p>The nation’s trade could not be limited in future to "Melbournemax" ships, he suggested. </p> <p>He urged shipping industry players to take part in all inquiries related to maritime infrastructure, saying "the silent majority can be rolled". </p> <br />