The prime minister will head a new cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure and one of its members says the focus will be on project delivery.
A new powerful cabinet committee to be overseen by Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be used to drive infrastructure projects across Australia, and particularly in NSW, the government says.
Mr Abbott’s role as the sub-committee’s chair will give his office a role in the assessment of infrastructure projects and supports his goal to be known as an “infrastructure prime minister”.
Other members include Treasurer Joe Hockey, Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss and Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs.
The committee will have the same status as the government’s powerful expenditure review committee.
It will look at proposals from state governments and the private sector and “put an emphasis on getting things done”, Mr Briggs said.
“It will have reporting mechanisms to ensure that we are getting things done more quickly than they have been in the past,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“It won’t just be about announcements, it will be about delivery.”
Asked why there was a need for the new committee and whether the coalition just wanted to be seen to be doing more on infrastructure, Mr Briggs said “government is about emphasis in a lot of ways”.
“And the emphasis of this government is on building the infrastructure of the 21st century,” he said.
“Ultimately if you’ve got the single focus of the prime minister, the treasurer, and the relevant ministers in the infrastructure portfolio, it’s got to be a good thing for the future of our economy and the future of our people.”
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell commended the federal government for “replicating” what he says he’s been doing for three years in setting up a cabinet infrastructure committee.
“In the last couple of months we’ve seen Joe Hockey talking up recycling of assets – something pioneered in NSW,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“Now we have the prime minister replicating what’s existed in this state for three years.”
Asked whether it was good news for proponents of a second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, the premier said: “It may be.”