How should the New South Wales government spend $20 billion? It’s asking citizens for advice.
The government has released a discussion paper canvassing options for its Rebuilding NSW fund, a $20 billion pot from offering long-term leases on 49% of “poles and wires” network assets to businesses. The consultation includes:
- Inform communities on the conditions for leasing the assets and the government’s strategic priorities;
- Meet with key businesses and community groups across the state, and;
- Seek feedback on investment focus points and the proposed lease of the electricity networks.
The paper discusses investing in “productive infrastructure” to support economic growth — particularly in rural communities — while protecting the interests of consumers and guaranteeing service and reliability:
“Some areas for new investment will generate new income for government, but this should not be the main criterion for government investment. Infrastructure investment can increase society’s wealth and wellbeing by directly increasing the productive assets of the state, increasing labour market participation and enterprise through investment in education and health, and growth industries.”
Submissions will be accepted until September 19. A final report will be prepared “late in 2014”.