You are here: Home / Media / Premier lays out his plans - 29.03.2006

Premier lays out his plans - 29.03.2006

More trains, more public-private partnerships and more State control over planning – Morris Iemma tells the Courier what to expect during his tenure at the top. Report Kim Shaw Sydney Central Courier.

Morris Iemma says his reign as NSW premier will be marked by a consultative approach with his ministers and a bigger investment in public transport. And where his predecessor, Bob Carr, took a top-down approach to leadership, Mr Iemma says he plans to listen to his cabinet colleagues’ input.

“I’m certainly not dictatorial,” the premier said in an interview with the Courier.

“I do listen to alternative points of view. But after discussion, you make the decision.”

The next 20 years will be marked by a massive boost to the State rail system, he says, with about

$5 billion to be spent and the possibility of new light rail routes to Bondi, Maroubra and throughout the

CBD, if it proves “sustainable and feasible”.

“I am open to examining the feasibility of light rail,” Mr Iemma said. “I personally think it’s a good mode of transport.”

More efficient public transport would, he says, encourage people to rely less on private vehicles.

In the realm of local government, Mr Iemma says that rates caps are in place to protect locals and he does not envisage them being lifted. He says new planning powers that allow Planning Minister Frank Sartor to seize control from local government will only be used where councils are underperforming.

“He [Mr Sartor] has significant powers,” Mr Iemma said. “They are specific to projects of special significance to the State. Planning laws are not coming in over the top of local government.

“The State Government accounts for just 1 per cent of development applications. It is important that local government is as efficient as possible.”

In regards to development plans for the Block and the Redfern-Waterloo development project, the premier says he hopes to get feedback from the community.

He says Mr Sartor is still in discussionswith the Aboriginal Housing Company over redevelopment plans for the Block and the Government is s till hoping for the input of the Aboriginal Housing Company.

“We recognise that Redfern is a significant centre for Aboriginal housing and the Aboriginal community,” he said. “Wewant to make it stronger and provide services and jobs.”

After recent disasters with public-private partnership projects (PPPs), such as the Cross City Tunnel, the Lane Cove Tunnel and the M5 East, Mr Iemma says the State Government has changed its approach, yet would continue to elicit private sector investment in public infrastructur e projects.

He says each PPP prompts the Government to review its procedures.

“You have to be open to changing the arrangement,” he said. “We’ve learned our lessons.” ■