NEW South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell last week introduced legislation to Parliament to establish Infrastructure NSW, a new body to help plan and deliver infrastructure projects in the state.
"The creation of Infrastructure NSW will ensure independent infrastructure decision making in this State, to get the right infrastructure projects delivered on time and on budget as soon as possible," Mr O'Farrell said.
"This body will deliver co-ordinated infrastructure planning across the whole of government, using the most efficient and effective funding mechanisms to deliver the best results," he said.
Infrastructure NSW will comprise an independent chair and five persons appointed from the private sector. It will also include the CEO of Infrastructure NSW and the heads of various government departments.
Earlier this month, it was announced that former NSW Premier Nick Greiner has been appointed as the Chair of Infrastructure NSW.
"The Bill makes this very clear: if the government of the day chooses to reject the strategic direction and recommendations of Infrastructure NSW, it will have to account to electors for its reasons," Mr O'Farrell said.
Mr O'Farrell said the Bill will ensure the independence of the body as well as the openness and transparency of decision making.
"In other words, the days of multi-billion dollar infrastructure decisions being made behind closed doors by factional deal-makers ends today."
Among its tasks, Infrastructure NSW will direct and oversee the preparation of a 20 year State Infrastructure Strategy for NSW.
It will also develop detailed 5 year Infrastructure plans that set out the details of projects and sequencing and funding arrangements in the NSW Budget from year to year, for the delivery of those projects consistent with the 20 year Strategy.
In addition, Infrastructure NSW will have the role of coordinating funding submissions to the Commonwealth, including Infrastructure Australia.
"The establishment of Infrastructure NSW is a giant leap forward in the delivery of infrastructure right across this State," Mr O'Farrell said.
The nation's peak infrastructure group, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), said the news was a welcome step toward better infrastructure planning and delivery in New South Wales.
"Infrastructure NSW offers the opportunity to draw a line under the past and snap New South Wales out of its infrastructure paralysis." said IPA Chief Executive, Brendan Lyon.
Mr Lyon said that Infrastructure NSW is being given considerable powers to oversee the strategic planning and delivery of major projects, helping to restore integrity and transparency to the state's infrastructure program.