G20: Joe Hockey to take NSW infrastructure model to the world

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird, left, and Federal treasurer Joe Hockey speak ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting and Infrastructure at the Transport Management Centre, Eveleigh. Photo: Tamara DeanTreasurer Joe Hockey will plug the “NSW model” of infrastructure development to the world’s most powerful economic officials when they gather in Sydney this weekend.
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Mr Hockey applauded the state’s strategy of privatising public assets and using the capital to help fund new transport projects ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.

“I want to praise the NSW Government for its approach to recycling of government investment in existing assets into new assets,” he said. “The sale of ports, with the proceeds going into new road infrastructure, is a benchmark for the rest of Australia and arguably many countries around the world and I will be using that as a clear example to G20 finance ministers this weekend.”

Australia will use its presidency of the G20 in 2014 to foster stronger global growth and will push for infrastructure investment to be a key growth engine. On Saturday night, Mr Hockey will host an “investment and infrastructure working dinner” as part of the G20 program. The G20 meeting in Sydney will be a who’s who of global finance, including Janet Yellen, the first female chair of the US Federal Reserve, and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde along with finance ministers who preside over 85 per cent of the world economy.

“This is where the rubber hits the road in terms of the future of the world economy and I look forward to meeting with my fellow finance ministers and central bank governors over the next few days as we shape the destiny of the world economy,” Mr Hockey said.

The NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, who joined Mr Hockey in his infrastructure pitch, said Australia was considered an “infrastructure capital of the world” by foreign industry players because of the number of existing assets that are likely to be privatised in future and the pipeline of new projects.

Since coming to office in 2011, the O’Farrell Government has privatised the Sydney desalination plant, Port Botany and Port Wollongong and will “recycle” the capital raised to fund new infrastructure projects. Last week Mr Baird announced the NSW Government will sell Macquarie Generation to AGL Energy for $1.72 billion. The long-term leases of the Port of Newcastle will be finalised before the state budget in June.

Mr Hockey would not be drawn on whether the state government should sell its electricity distribution network – the so called “poles and wires”. He said that was a decision for the NSW government.