Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009

About this Item
SpeakersHazzard Mr Brad; Harris Mr David; Assistant-Speaker (Mr Grant McBride); Williams Mr Ray; Collier Mr Barry; Baird Mr Mike; Paluzzano Mrs Karyn; Stokes Mr Rob; Acting-Speaker (Mr Thomas George); Whan The Hon Steve; Page Mr Donald; Terenzini Mr Frank; Williams Mr John; Fraser Mr Andrew; Constance Mr Andrew; Richardson Mr Michael; Keneally Ms Kristina; Acting-Speaker (Mr Matthew Morris)
BusinessBill, Agreement in Principle, Passing of the Bill, Motion

Page: 13178

Agreement in Principle

Debate resumed from 4 March 2009.

Mr BRAD HAZZARD (Wakehurst) [4.12 p.m.]: I lead for the Opposition in debate on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009 and state at the outset that the Opposition will not oppose the bill. However, the Opposition has a number of concerns relating to the bill. State Labor argues that the bill is all about jobs. If it were all about jobs and only about jobs, the Opposition would be completely supportive. However, New South Wales has suffered from various incarnations of incompetent Labor governments that have decimated jobs, State infrastructure and the economy of the State.

When the Coalition left office in 1995, New South Wales led Australia in all economic indicators. An examination of the gross State product of each of the States between 1999 and 2006-07 shows that New South Wales had a gross State product of 5 per cent and that under State Labor each year since that time the percentage has tracked downwards. By 2001-02, gross State product for New South Wales effectively had halved to 2.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively. By 2006-07, it had been reduced to 1.8 per cent. I remind the House that for the financial year 1998-99, gross State product for New South Wales was recorded at 5 per cent. While we consider this bill, New South Wales is at the bottom of the pile, except for South Australia. What a sad indictment of the competence of State Labor governments. In 2006-07 even the Australian Capital Territory recorded a gross State product of 5 per cent, the Northern Territory recorded a rate of 5.6 per cent, and Queensland recorded a rate of 4.9 per cent. I emphasise that during the same period New South Wales recorded gross State product of 1.8 per cent.

Over the same period, unemployment in New South Wales increased to 5.4 per cent and remained above the national average, which in January was 4.8 per cent. The 5.4 per cent rate represented an increase from the December figure of 5.2 per cent. That tells us, as far as unemployment is concerned, that New South Wales is worse off than Victoria, worse off than Queensland, worse off than Western Australia and even worse off than Tasmania. In January New South Wales unemployment increased by 10,300 to 195,800 and employment growth in New South Wales decreased by 0.3 per cent. That appalling reduction in our employment growth rate is the poorest performance of all States of Australia except South Australia. There is no issue regarding employment: New South Wales needs jobs! As the dark clouds of recession gather and the current economic crisis enfolds us, we certainly need jobs.

It is against that very unfortunate economic background that the Opposition has examined the bill. There is nothing inherently attractive about the bill. It is designed to steamroller the planning system in New South Wales, albeit that the planning system is utterly incompetent. The real purpose of the bill is to find a way around the incompetent planning system that State Labor has implemented in New South Wales. It is effectively a super size part 3A whose purpose is to throw out normal community input to planning outcomes, proper environment considerations and all other normal planning processes. The bill has been introduced on the back of a Federal Government initiative—I emphasise it is a Federal Government initiative—to stimulate the Australian economy and in turn to stimulate the New South Wales economy. The bill certainly is not the result of any action taken by the current incompetent State Labor Government.

As all members will recall, in November last year our amateur Premier rushed in with a mini-budget that has since been subjected to thorough examination. It has been revealed that the mini-budget has had precisely the reverse effect it was intended to achieve. It certainly did not stimulate the economy but did the exact opposite of what the Rudd Federal Labor Government said ought to be done. Premier Nathan Rees ruled out any specific support for the State's economy and infrastructure. In the last few months, as economic circumstances have deteriorated and he has received the message loud and clear from his Federal colleagues that they are not happy with his incompetence and his inability to address the fundamental economic problems of the State, including the creation of jobs in New South Wales, he has been forced to take notice of the need to stimulate the State's economy, but still he has not done anything about it.

The Premier has begun to talk about plans to do this and plans to do that. He leads a government that is very good when it comes to planning to do things, but it is atrocious at actually delivering. I remind the House that while we consider this bill and wonder whether we have any confidence in the capacity of the Government to deliver outcomes, we should recall plans such as the Chatswood to Parramatta rail link.

Mr Greg Smith: Shame!

Mr BRAD HAZZARD: That is very much a matter of shame for the Government, as the member for Epping so rightly observes. That rail link did not eventuate. Various proposals were made. Eventually the project became a much truncated and reduced project to provide a shuttle service that was delivered very late in the piece and had very limited capacity. It now runs from Chatswood to Epping, not Parramatta. We then had the Metropolitan Strategy and the subregional strategies, which identified and acknowledged, quite appropriately, that there would be one million more people in New South Wales by 2031. The Metropolitan Strategy looked at various ways that we might deliver the necessary employment lands, jobs for those employment lands, and infrastructure to support those jobs and residences. But some of the pillars of that proposal have already been knocked out, and another plan disappeared in terms of the north-west rail sector.

Mr Greg Smith: That's a tragedy.

Mr BRAD HAZZARD: It is a tragedy because tens of thousands of people moved into the north-west sector but the rail system that was promised to them disappeared. Indeed, with the new developments that have occurred in the north-west, estate agents sold units and businesses to many people on the basis of the Government's promise about where the railway line and train stations would be located. However, none of that infrastructure has been delivered. The south-west is an important part of Sydney. The Metropolitan Strategy envisaged a south-west rail line, which the Government supported in many statements. There was plan after plan after plan, and then absolutely nothing. Now the Government has announced the CBD metro. Will it ever happen? The average person would highly doubt it. Clearly, people living in the north-west and in the south-west, and those who plan to move to the south-west, are entitled to ask, "Why the metro? Why that area when it is already well serviced by other transport modes?" The problem is that the Government simply cannot deliver on infrastructure.

I turn now to hospitals. In the past couple of days the focus has been on Westmead Hospital. Previously the focus was on Royal North Shore Hospital, Camden District Hospital and Campbelltown Hospital. There is a lack of infrastructure on the northern beaches, which is the area I represent, together with the member for Manly and the member for Pittwater. Our two hospitals, Manly Hospital and Mona Vale Hospital, are run down, and there is a lack of capacity to delivery infrastructure support to them. The promise of a new hospital at Frenchs Forest has disappeared into the ether. There seems to be nothing at all coming from the Government now. The Government has introduced this bill against that background. As I said, the planning system is utterly incompetent.

A number of planning amendments were made last year. After much controversy the amendments were passed by this place; within two weeks of the amendments being passed the Government agreed that the upper House should hold an inquiry into the planning laws. In other words, the Government had so little confidence in the planning laws that it recognised that a review of those laws was required. From the Opposition's point of view, there is no question that we need to find ways to not only streamline planning processes but also ensure that the community still has ownership of its areas, its neighbourhoods, its places. Even with the amendments last year, and the way the Minister continues blithely to use the provisions of part 3A to a great extent, the Government knows that its planning laws are not working.

If the planning laws were working—for example, if part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act was working—the Minister would not need to adopt part 3A processes so readily. She arrived in the seat as the Minister and started churning out part 3A approvals—roughly 1.7 of them every day. The planning system has effectively broken down. One initiative from 2005—part 3A—is being used to circumvent a broken system. The Government has gleefully embraced the use of a provision that circumvents much of what the community wants to see in terms of proper planning processes and recognition of environmental issues. This bill makes part 3A look like amateur hour in terms of steamrolling over local communities. In this bill there is implicit but specific recognition that the New South Wales planning system does not work. One need only read the overview of the bill, which states:
      The object of this Bill is to ensure the timely delivery in NSW of the infrastructure projects funded by the Commonwealth under the National Building and Jobs Plan
That seems to be, and is doubtless, a good purpose. It is necessary for New South Wales to spend the Federal money, because we lose what we do not use. That is one condition from the Federal Government. It is also predicated on an understanding that the current planning system does not allow for the expeditious delivery of infrastructure in New South Wales, even with part 3A. While part 3A exists, it is of interest to many people in the community that the Government acknowledges that it needs to go further to try to circumvent the broken planning system in New South Wales in order to ensure the delivery of infrastructure in accordance with the Federal Government's stipulation so that New South Wales can get its share of the $42 billion stimulus package.

Put aside the arguments about whether the size of the stimulus package or the particular stimulus package is appropriate. The money is on the table and New South Wales needs to get its share. The condition is to get the various approvals as quickly as possible. This bill is structured, essentially, on a new steamroller over the planning system. The bill provides for the appointment of an Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. That is interesting. Use of the words "co-ordinator general" conjures up ghosts of the past. However, they are not all ghosts because I understand that David Richmond is still working somewhere inside the State Government. It is interesting that previously we had a co-ordinator general who presumably tried to bring together the various infrastructure initiatives that the Government kept talking about. Apparently he had a falling out with the Government, or at least one or two senior Ministers. It has been suggested that he did not share the same objectives as the Minister for Infrastructure, which meant that he was sidelined.
Technically, we still have a co-ordinator general. Now we will have a Federal Government-driven Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. The provision is not a personal criticism directed at the new appointee, but it is criticism of the planning system, which is failing so badly that even the Government recognises that it needs to have an Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. The Federal Labor Government has made no secret of its concern about its incompetent State Labor colleagues. Behind the scenes and in public utterances it is clear that Federal Labor thinks the State Labor Government comprises a bunch of incompetent amateurs. It is doubtless necessary to have some way for the Government to address the issue of our broken planning system. The Coalition would have preferred an overhaul to improve the planning system rather than circumventing it through a structure that will remain only until the $42 billion is spent.

State Labor, and the Minister specifically, has given an assurance that this legislation will be in force only for as long as it takes to spend our share of the $42 billion on various infrastructure projects. In the absence of that guarantee the Coalition would have a major problem with this bill, which is a step too far in terms of circumventing the planning legislation and the requirements for a reasonable planning process that the community demands. The projects identified will be of critical importance to New South Wales. I started my speech by saying that we need jobs. We also need quick infrastructure delivery. It is also appropriate to observe that many in the community are very concerned about our planning legislation, and therefore about the necessity to bring this sort of bill before the House. Yesterday John Mant appeared before the Legislative Council inquiry, and said:
      I note that, as a result of a similar frustration with the system, the Government just had the Parliament pass legislation allowing stimulus developments to bypass the normal processes. Like parts of the planning legislation, there are provisions that exempt the Executive from supervision by the courts. That these breaches of the separation of powers doctrine are seen necessary alone must demonstrate the fundamental failure of the current system.
Many others criticise the system. On behalf of the community I seek an assurance from the Minister regarding transparency: the community must see what projects are being considered by the new Infrastructure Co-ordinator General [ICG], what steps he or she will take publicly to assess those infrastructure projects and the basis upon which the expenditure of Federal funds for infrastructure purposes is prioritised. The ICG will have a number of roles. I do not propose to examine them now except to say that the essential role is one of oversight, which can become far more pivotal if government departments fail to get on with the job of approving and driving the delivery of infrastructure. The Minister's second reading speech contains scant information about how that will be achieved. Certainly the bill gives him or her certain powers but nothing at this point indicates to the people of New South Wales that the Premier has considered the necessity to be—as he said when he first became Premier—far more transparent with the New South Wales community.

In his first blush of success, having put the knife into Morris Iemma and done deals with various powerbrokers whom he then appointed to the frontbench, the Premier had a "red-hot go" at selling himself and talked about, among other things, transparency. He said that there would be no more "spin". The New South Wales community and the Coalition expect transparency. This bill does not give the Government the right to be disdainful in the face of a community call for it to be more responsive to the people's need for a transparent and honest approach to government. I ask the Minister for Planning, who I understand has carriage of the bill on behalf of the Premier, to advise the House and the people of New South Wales whom we represent how the Government will ensure that the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General will be transparent about the process of spending billions of dollars. People must be able to assess what is being done, how it is being done and the validity of the decision.

The Government has shown the Coalition just what Labor can do in terms of party-political partisanship by delivering anything for anybody. During the various incarnations of Labor in office we have seen some of the most blatant pork-barrelling by any government in the history of Australia. Prime Minister Rudd said that the funds will be distributed equitably and equally. They will provide school facilities and meet other infrastructure needs on a fair and equitable basis. The challenge for the Minister and the Premier is to satisfy the New South Wales community that the Government will do that with the fortune it has to spend in the next few months. It is time for clear and open criteria when implementing spending processes in relation to those funds.

I challenge the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General—if the Minister will not do it—to establish on behalf of the New South Wales community a process that is open, transparent, honest, has some semblance of decency, and recognises that every person in New South Wales is entitled to have a fair and equitable proportion of the funds spent on infrastructure in their local area. Beyond there being a clear need for that approach there is an urgent need for the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to set out clearly how people can apply for the funds. As a result of the Labor Government's history of incompetence the community has become immune to the belief that it will govern for the people. It is accepted that there is little point asking the Government to come to an area, recognise need there and deliver infrastructure. If the Government does not give the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General clear instructions, I urge the ICG, on behalf of every resident of New South Wales, to send a message to the community about how he or she intends to distribute the funds and ensure that they are allocated fairly. The Infrastructure Co-ordinator General should clarify for community groups throughout New South Wales how they can apply for funds.

As I indicated, the Opposition will not oppose the bill. The Opposition hopes that the Government will make a serious effort to address its fundamental failings in planning and ensure that there is an adequate delivery of infrastructure and that New South Wales does not lose out. Earlier today the House heard that New South Wales lost $48 million in funding for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway because the State Labor Government did not satisfy the requirements laid down by the Federal Labor Government for the expenditure of that funding. That $48 million was pulled from under the people of New South Wales. Do not let that happen with this bill. Make sure that we get our fair share, but make sure it is done honestly, transparently and fairly.

Mr DAVID HARRIS (Wyong) [4.40 p.m.]: I certainly support the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. The bill is about generating employment and protecting as many jobs as we can. The Rudd Government has come forward with an historic, long-term and targeted plan to fight the global economic crisis. Every day there are stories of serious job losses. General Motors has cut 47,000 jobs world wide as part of a massive restructure. BHP Billiton has cut 6,000 employees and contractors around the world and, as a follow-on, the Ravensthorpe nickel mine will close, resulting in 1,800 job losses in Western Australia and Queensland. Australia's largest property developer, Lend Lease, will cut 1,700 jobs over the next six months.

In New South Wales, Pacific Brands has cut 507 jobs. In Albury, 235 Drivetrain Systems International workers lost their jobs. We are experiencing the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s and we need to do everything we can to soften the impact. The $42 billion economic stimulus package from the Commonwealth Government will see unprecedented levels of spending on our schools, on social housing programs and on local infrastructure works—all designed to stimulate economic activity and jobs. As Kevin Rudd pointed out, the stimulus package will be the biggest construction effort since the post-war building boom. Unfortunately, recently the Opposition voted against the package. I remember quite clearly, because I took part in the debate, that the Opposition did support a Turnbull package. That is because there is no Turnbull package. But the Opposition has not said that it will support the Rudd package, which will provide jobs and important infrastructure for our local communities.

The New South Wales Government is doing its fair share as well. Over the next four years New South Wales will have the largest infrastructure program of any Australian State government: a $56 billion program that will sustain 154,000 jobs each year. Despite what the member for Wakehurst said, that program was included in the mini-budget before the economic crisis eventuated. New South Wales has a proven record of infrastructure delivery. We delivered the best-ever Olympic Games, on budget and without a debt hangover. We have invested $9.3 billion in rebuilding and upgrading public hospitals and emergency departments. We have completed 94 railway station upgrades, delivered 141 new Millennium train carriages and built two major transitways in western Sydney.

I note that the Opposition continually tries to take the moral high ground and say that the Government is not delivering infrastructure. But it is being delivered all around us. The Opposition has closed its eyes and does not want to acknowledge the Government's achievements. The Government has allocated $950 million to rebuild the Royal North Shore Hospital, which will support an average 375 direct jobs per year; $4.8 billion for the central business district metro, involving 875 jobs; and $246 million for 19 new schools and 12 new TAFE projects, creating 490 jobs. And the list goes on. In my electorate there have been courthouse upgrades, schools have been built, a hospital has been totally reconstructed, and new roads are under construction. However, those opposite say that nothing is happening. Maybe nothing is happening in the Epping area, but infrastructure provision is certainly happening in my part of the world.

The Government has also cut payroll tax—$1.9 billion in relief for businesses—and cut developer levies to stimulate construction. We have done this in a responsible, affordable manner. Recently the Premier announced the creation of 4,000 new government apprenticeships and 2,000 public sector cadetships over the next four years. The New South Wales Government has also entered into a $620 million partnership with the Rudd Government, providing an additional 175,000 training places to be created over the next four years. These are real plans that are being put into action now.

New South Wales will commit $200 million in new funds to this plan. The New South Wales Government is taking decisive action to deliver the Rudd Government's economic stimulus package. The bill will ensure the rapid delivery of the infrastructure projects funded by the Commonwealth to implement the Council of Australian Governments [COAG] agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan. The agreement with the Commonwealth will provide New South Wales with significant funding for important State infrastructure projects—something the Howard Government certainly failed to do. Although the Opposition says it is a bailout, it is not—it is a catch-up for what New South Wales missed out on during 10 years of Federal Coalition Government. This is a unique opportunity to provide significant education, road and housing infrastructure for the people of New South Wales. New South Wales is expected to receive about $2 billion for new social housing over the next two years and about $4.4 billion for schools.

Like all States and Territories, New South Wales must satisfy tight time frames in order to qualify for the Commonwealth funding. The bill provides New South Wales with additional tools to ensure that we deliver the infrastructure projects within the funding time frames required by the Commonwealth. I listened carefully to the member for Wakehurst, who said that we should have an inquiry to restructure the entire planning system. By the time that happened we would have lost all the Federal funding and would not have been able to build anything.

Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: I refer to Standing Order 59. An upper House inquiry is already underway. That is what I observed. I did not say that there had to be an inquiry; one is already underway.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! The member for Wyong has the call.

Mr DAVID HARRIS: The bill provides New South Wales with additional tools to ensure that we deliver the infrastructure programs within the time frames required by the Commonwealth for funding. That is the key provision of the bill. It is clear that the bill applies only to projects funded by the Commonwealth under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan and to no other projects, and that once the projects are completed the legislation will cease to have effect. The bill also establishes the New South Wales Infrastructure Co-ordinator General, who will be responsible for planning and implementing the timely delivery of the infrastructure projects. The role of Infrastructure Co-ordinator General is a response to a requirement by the Prime Minister. Bob Leece has now started in that position, and his team has hit the ground running. They are working closely with the Commonwealth Government and meeting tight deadlines.

The Infrastructure Co-ordinator General will head a special task force with agencies, the Department of Housing, and the Department of Education and Training. The bill requires State Government agencies to cooperate with the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General in relation to infrastructure projects to ensure that the projects are delivered on time. The bill provides also alternative procurement and tendering frameworks for the infrastructure projects to ensure that the projects can be delivered on time, and of course these will be subject to appropriate probity measures. Part 5 of the bill allows the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to vary the usual planning and environmental approvals processes in relation to infrastructure projects to ensure that the projects can be delivered within the time frames required by the Commonwealth.

That is important because in my electorate a development application was lodged 12 months ago for a new police station. The police station could have been under construction now but we have had to wait and wait, and still the development application has not been approved. That is one reason why we have to make sure that projects can be delivered. This power will build on the changes made recently to the infrastructure State environmental planning policy [SEPP], which will streamline the approvals processes for school infrastructure and affordable housing. The processes under the infrastructure SEPP will be taken advantage of wherever possible to deliver these projects.

If a project can be delivered within the required time frames under the existing approvals processes there will be no need to make use of the power in the bill. However, given the Commonwealth's tight time frames, an alternative approval mechanism needs to be available if there is a risk that a project will not meet the deadline. The Infrastructure Co-ordinator General can use his power to provide appropriate conditions for public notification, environmental protection, heritage conservation, threatened species protection and bushfire protection. It is also worthwhile pointing out that the South Australian Government has put in place powers almost identical to those proposed under this bill. The press release from the Hon. Paul Holloway, South Australian Minister for Urban Development and Planning, states:
      the development approval process, previously requiring the import of several Government and or Local government agencies, will be removed for projects funded by the Nation Building and Jobs Plan and will be managed by the recently established Office of the Coordinator General.
The agreement with the Commonwealth Government on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan will provide both crucial funding to stimulate the State's economy and important infrastructure for the people of New South Wales. We need to make sure that we do everything we can to comply with the Commonwealth's tight time frames to receive this important funding. This bill provides us with the tools necessary to meet this challenge. I commend the bill to the House.

      Mr RAY WILLIAMS (Hawkesbury) [4.50 p.m.]: It is ironic that when we look at this bill, the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009, we also see reference to the State Labor Government. The first thing that strikes anyone is that the two just do not go together. It is like water and oil; they just do not mix. This State Labor Government has not taken a single step to build anything in New South Wales for so many years. It is ironic because the only investment that will come into New South Wales will be from the Federal Government. We should be talking about how this State Government has let us down in failing to provide infrastructure.

We can talk about the cancellation of half the Chatswood to Parramatta rail link, the re-announcement of the north-west rail link, the cancellation of the north-west rail link and its further re-announcement. I could talk about that for half an hour but I will not do so. It is just another of this Government's failures. These are important infrastructure projects that would build our nation. They would provide jobs but, most importantly, they would provide public transport links from very new growth areas, such as in my electorate in the north-west of Sydney, to work and business hubs such as the north-west business precinct, Macquarie Park and Castle Hill. Our area has been let down significantly by this State Government.

We could go over myriad issues such as the Richmond to Riverstone rail link upgrade, which was promised 11 years ago, I think, then re-announced a couple of years ago and subsequently cancelled. Surprise, surprise! Today there was an announcement of a new business park at Vineyard, right in the heart of the Riverstone electorate. Surprisingly, it is at the Vineyard station site where the upgrade of the Riverstone-Richmond line was going to go until three months ago. The rail line upgrade has been cancelled but now a business park is proposed. Once again we see the cart before the horse approach of this State Government when it comes to implementing infrastructure. Once again it shows how the Government fails to do anything as important as nation building, which is the subject of the bill before us. I will refer to what I believe is perhaps one of the greatest failures of this Government.

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Point of order: The member for Hawkesbury is not speaking to the bill. Can you bring him back to the leave of the bill and stop him using his BlackBerry for notes?

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! There is no point of order.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: On many occasions here we have seen Government members raise vexatious points of order rather than accept their shortcomings and failings in relation to providing infrastructure and jobs. As I said, one of the greatest nation-building projects should have happened in 1993-94 when the Greiner Government proposed and signed off on raising the Warragamba Dam by 11 metres and strengthening it at a cost of $200 million. A couple of other options were thrown up, but let us think for a moment about what that proposal would have done. Raising the wall of the dam would have ensured that the prescribed maximum flood level for the entire Hawkesbury area was less than 11 metres. That would have created enormous development potential in many areas of the Hawkesbury that currently have a prescribed maximum flood level of 17.5 metres to ensure that buildings are constructed safely out of the flood area. It would have provided thousands of jobs. It was a major project. It is almost a Snowy Mountains-type project that would have provided a massive number of jobs. It would also have—

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Point of order: I draw to the attention of the member for Hawkesbury that the only major infrastructure the previous Coalition Government built was the rail line to the airport, which is in the east, not the west. What did it do for the people of western Sydney but sack teachers—

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! Members may make introductory remarks. However, I ask the member for Hawkesbury to address the leave of the bill.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: Following on my reference to nation building and jobs, the raising of Warragamba Dam would also have provided another 11 metres of water storage capacity. Is it not ironic that in 1995 when the Carr Government came to power in this State one of the first things it did was cancel this package? Bob Carr cancelled raising the height of Warragamba Dam and instead opted for the $80 million spillway.

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Point of order: The member for Hawkesbury fails to realise that this Government has lowered access to the deepwater storage, which has the same effect.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! I will not allow members to debate the issue across the Chamber. Members will direct their remarks through the Chair. The member for Hawkesbury has the call. He will confine his remarks to the bill.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: We are talking about large infrastructure plans and that is exactly what I would like to see. I love contributing to this debate because I do not have to read from a speech that a bureaucrat has prepared for me, as Government members do. I can speak about the projects that have been cancelled in my area. The Minister for Planning might not like these truths being told to her but these massive nation-building infrastructure projects have been cancelled. I touched ever so slightly on the announcement today by the Premier and the Minister for Planning of the new business park at Riverstone. The announcement of that business park is a mockery when the Government has already cancelled the upgrade of the railway line to that area. But 500 metres down the road from this newly proposed business park is an existing business park in relation to which the Government still cannot get its house in order. It now has a draft proposal for rezoning a heavy industrial area into a light industrial area.

When we are talking about jobs and nation building one thing we should not be doing is downgrading an area that has been successful for 50 years. You do not smack people in the Riverstone business area in the face. There are hundreds of business people out there. You do not hang their hides out to dry or put them in a state of limbo, where they cannot get a development application approved to increase the size of their businesses. As we sit here today there are development applications before Blacktown council for expansion of the heavy industrial businesses in the Riverstone business precinct. The applications are being held up and those businesses are being jeopardised. We are also jeopardising the jobs of people at Riverstone in the western suburbs because the Minister for Planning will not assess the applications and ensure the heavy industrial area zoning—

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Point of order: Did the member put in a submission for the rezoning? He stands up in this Chamber and grandstands but what is he doing?

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! I ask the member for Hawkesbury to read the explanatory note at the top of the bill. He will confine his remarks to the objects of the bill.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: I read the explanatory note but I remind the member for Penrith that the time for questions has expired.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! I ruled earlier that members would not debate each other across the Chamber. The member for Hawkesbury will direct his comments through the Chair or I will sit him down.

Mr Andrew Fraser: Point of order: Points of order should relate to a specific standing order. The member for Penrith has not referred to a specific standing order but I note that you have been ruling in her favour. I believe that the member for Hawkesbury is referring to issues that are covered under the legislation, and he is entitled to do so. The Chair should show some equity in relation to this matter.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! The member for Hawkesbury has the call.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: I have in front of me the New South Wales Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. I will not let this opportunity pass without stating what a dreadful job this New South Wales Government has done over the past 12 years to provide necessary infrastructure in this State. Its record in this area is abysmal. It has been dragged, kicking and screaming, to upgrade Windsor Road. Incidentally, it was paid for by the Rouse Hill community through the arterial road contribution scheme. In 2000 radio announcer Alan Jones and I exposed the Government's abysmal record and ensured that we ultimately got the money for that road from the arterial road contribution scheme.

This Government has an endless list of broken promises and it has failed to implement necessary infrastructure in this State. How many millions of dollars have been spent on endless announcements, glossy brochures and plane trips across Sydney relating to the north-west rail link? It is a disgrace, it is disgusting and it is an abrogation of this Government's responsibility to ensure that it does not lie to the people of New South Wales. That is what it has done for many years and I am sure that it will continue to do so for many years into the future. It remains to be seen whether the Federal Government allocates funding for infrastructure in New South Wales.

This Government is responsible for service delivery in New South Wales and it is responsible to businesses in the Riverstone business precinct. Clearly, the people in that precinct do not deserve to have a draft planning proposal hanging over their heads—a planning proposal that restricts opportunities for development applications to increase the size of their businesses. The Minister for Planning said on the record today that those businesses would remain in place. However, the Minister knows that existing rights are limited.

Mr Frank Terenzini: Point of order: The member for Hawkesbury has been waffling on for several minutes.

Mr Brad Hazzard: What is your point of order?

Mr Frank Terenzini: If Opposition members give me a moment I will state my point of order. Standing Order 76, which is clear, relates to relevance. The member's contribution should be relevant and it should relate to the bill before the House.

Mr Andrew Fraser: This is not a point of order.

Mr Frank Terenzini: Opposition members should give me an opportunity to state my point of order. This bill refers to a Council of Australian Governments agreement that relates only to infrastructure. What the member for Hawkesbury is saying is completely irrelevant.

Mr Brad Hazzard: You are only awake because Kristina told you to get up and take points of order.

Mr Frank Terenzini: The member for Wakehurst should get someone to do proper research for him.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! There is no point of order.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS: Ironically, last week in this House the member for Maitland said that new homeowners no longer had to pay land tax, but new homeowners have never had to pay land tax on private property. The member for Maitland should do his homework. This Government has failed to do anything in relation to nation building. As I said earlier, hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on advertising for the north-west rail link.

We are talking about promoting jobs and implementing infrastructure, but one of the most important things that should have been implemented is a Tcard to improve public transport services in our area. Instead we received a bill for $100 million and we did not get as much as a ticket roll. This Government has done nothing in relation to nation building and it has done precious little for jobs. It has let down the people of New South Wales, business owners in the Riverstone electorate and in Riverstone business park, and it has let down every resident of New South Wales. The Government needs to stop dithering and lying about what it intends to do, as it has done nothing. The Government needs to lift it its game.

Mr BARRY COLLIER (Miranda—Parliamentary Secretary) [5.05 p.m.]: I support the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. The Federal Government's $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan will deliver a great win for schools in New South Wales. An amount of $14.7 billion from the package has been set aside to build new halls, libraries, classrooms and laboratories, as well as undertake maintenance work in schools across the nation. This package is known as Building the Education Revolution. Public schools in New South Wales will receive over $3 billion from this package and non-government schools will receive more than $1.5 billion.

This significant investment in school infrastructure—the largest in Australia's history—will deliver a program of building works and maintenance to schools across Australia far greater than the resources of any State government could ever allow. Contrary to the comments of the member for Hawkesbury, building new school infrastructure in the Miranda electorate is not something new for the Labor Government. It has built new halls for Oyster Bay and Kirrawee public schools and a new hall is underway at Sylvania High School, with construction expected to commence this year. These projects are projects that local Liberals only ever talked about.

Labor has improved infrastructure in every State school in my electorate. Gyms, performance studios, a library, science laboratories and kitchens have been built or upgraded at Port Hacking High School; a music block was built at Kirrawee High School and one was upgraded at Gymea Technology High School; covered outdoor learning areas, covered walkways, electrical wiring, fencing and wombat crossings have been installed or upgraded; and a safer pick up and set down area, or road access, has been provided for pupils and staff at Bates Drive School, a special needs school in my electorate. Under Labor the Building the Education Revolution will add to these improvements.

Let me give members an example to contradict the outcry, outpouring of grief and wringing of hands by the member for Hawkesbury about Labor not delivering anything. Every school in New South Wales will get something from this package. More than 3,000 school sites will become building sites. This unique opportunity for our schools, both public and private, will also create jobs for workers in New South Wales and help to stimulate local economies throughout the State. Unfortunately, Opposition members in this House voted against a package that will provide new school halls, libraries and science laboratories for our children. Our children will be the beneficiaries of new school halls and libraries and they will benefit from the extra work that the stimulus package will provide, which will help to create employment for their mothers and fathers.

Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: This is the stimulus package. We have not yet voted on this bill. The member for Miranda should wake up.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! The member for Miranda has the call.

Mr BARRY COLLIER: I know that Opposition members and the shadow Treasurer, who has just come into the Chamber, will oppose this package. The member for Manly talks about his economic and financial credentials, but if he were some sort of economist he would be talking about the multiplier effects of these capital works programs. He would be telling us how every dollar spent on capital works programs would be more stimulatory in terms of income, output and employment than a dollar in tax cuts. Of course, the reason is that every dollar of capital expenditure goes directly into the income stream whereas part of the dollar in tax cuts is saved.

Mr Mike Baird: So how does the cash plan relate to that?

Mr BARRY COLLIER: He would know that saving is not spending. He would be talking about the paradox of thrift. The member for Pittwater is taking a great interest in the debate.

Mr Mike Baird: He's an economics master.

Mr BARRY COLLIER: That is right. Those opposite are encouraging us not to spend but to save in times of economic downturn. If we continue to save and not spend all we will do is drive the economy further into recession—the big R they talk about. The Opposition does not want us to spend money. It relies on the same pre-Keynesian mentality that ensured the Depression that began in 1929 persisted throughout the 1930s in Australia and most other Western industrialised countries. That is the Opposition: negative thinking, negative ideas, negative comments and talking down our great Australian economy.

Mr Mike Baird: That was good.

Mr BARRY COLLIER: You liked that? The bill is critical to ensure the rapid delivery of infrastructure projects funded by the Commonwealth to implement the Council of Australian Governments [COAG] agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan to help reduce the impact of the global economic crisis on this State. The bill provides New South Wales with additional tools to ensure we deliver these important education facilities for our children within the time frames required by the Commonwealth. It is clear that the bill applies only to projects funded by the Commonwealth under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan and no other projects. Once the projects are completed the legislation will be repealed.

A key element of the bill is the establishment of the New South Wales Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. Bob Leece has started work and is working closely with the Commonwealth Government to meet its time frames. Just this week the Premier announced that the State Government has placed an order for pre-constructed permanent school libraries to replace demountables in government schools: 50 of these new libraries will be built by a western Sydney family-run company that will immediately increase its workforce from 60 to 90 employees, including providing four new apprenticeships. The Infrastructure Co-ordinator General will be responsible for planning and implementing the timely delivery of the projects and will head a special task force with the Department of Housing and the Department of Education and Training.

Where projects are at risk of not being delivered on time the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General will have the necessary power to deliver them. One of the key powers of this bill is that it allows the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to vary usual planning and environmental approval processes where there is a risk a project will not be built within the Commonwealth time frames. I welcome this particular power. We do not want councils, such as Sutherland Shire Council, unnecessarily delaying projects, or indeed refusing projects, that will benefit the community. Recently Sutherland council rejected the provision of a 112-bed nursing home on the grounds of Sutherland Hospital. The facility would have reserved 10 beds for elderly hospital patients, thereby improving patient flows and access. But our council, of course, rejected the proposal based on a few neighbours complaining about landscaping, parking and lack of access by cyclists.

While Sutherland council continually spruiks its concerns for seniors and its aged-care policy, it continually places every obstacle it can find in the way of the development of much-needed nursing homes and infrastructure within our shire. I cannot think of one aged-care proposal in the past three years that has not been unreasonably delayed by Sutherland Shire Council, resulting in increased costs and distress amongst our seniors and their families. The Infrastructure Co-ordinator General's power will build on the recently made change to the infrastructure State environmental planning policy [SEPP] to streamline approvals processes for school infrastructure. I welcome this particular feature of the bill.

The State Labor Government has delivered, and continues to deliver, key infrastructure for the Sutherland shire. The Miranda Five Ways, the Woronora Bridge, the Bangor Bypass, the Sea Cliff Bridge and the Alfords Point Bridge are all projects delivered by Labor. They were only ever promised by the Liberal Party. Sutherland hospital, the Cronulla sewage treatment plant, the easy access upgrade and lifts at Miranda, Gymea, Caringbah and Sutherland railway stations, and the Bondi Junction Turnback are projects the Liberal Party only ever whinged about, but State Labor delivered. Of course, the $344 million Cronulla rail duplication project, complete with lifts at Kirrawee and Woolooware railway stations, is well advanced. It is the largest single public transport infrastructure project in the shire's history, delivering two extra services on the Cronulla line each hour during the peak period. Who only whinged about it? Of course, it was the Liberals. Who is doing it? Of course, it is the State Labor Government. Schools, hospitals, sewage treatment works, and road and rail infrastructure are all being delivered by Labor.

Of course, we are also getting on with the job of securing Sydney's water supply, with a $1.9 billion desalination plant at Kurnell. The plant is now 70 per cent completed and will have the capacity to provide up to 500 megalitres of drinking water each day. For our growing city we will have a new source of water that is not dependent on climate and rainfall. Local Liberal Party members, including the member for Cronulla, have been on site complaining about how the desalination plant will ruin Captain Cook's Landing Place, interfere with whale migration patterns and, of course, ruin seagrass. Nothing could be further from the truth. The desalination plant is about two kilometres from Captain Cook's Landing Place, between the oil refinery and the carbon black factory. The desalination plant will be powered by 67 wind turbines, of which 47 have been completed.

Mr Brad Hazzard: All located in the electorate?

Mr BARRY COLLIER: You know exactly where they are located. What the Liberals also will not tell everyone is that the State Labor Government is spending $6 million to improve and upgrade facilities at Captain Cook's Landing Place in the Botany Bay National Park. Contrary to the assertions of the member for Hawkesbury, we are delivering. Labor has delivered for the electorate of Miranda. Labor is continuing to deliver for the Sutherland shire. The agreement with the Commonwealth Government on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan will provide crucial funding to stimulate the State economy and provide important education infrastructure for local communities and New South Wales. We need to do everything we can to work with the Commonwealth to deliver these projects and as many jobs as possible. The bill provides us with the necessary power to do this. I congratulate the Minister, the Rees Government and, of course, the Rudd Federal Labor Government on the package. I commend the bill to the House.

Mr MIKE BAIRD (Manly) [5.16 p.m.]: I support the member for Wakehurst and shadow Minister on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. We will not oppose this bill. Members opposite love hearing this phrase but, dare I say, it is a step in the right direction. The bill tries to cut red tape—the system, which has become bogged down with too many projects, has held up infrastructure and capital program delivery across this State and cost this State jobs. We have many concerns; however, we need to explore things. The only reason for this proposal is that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has forced Premier Rees into it. He has basically said, "We need to do something about this crisis. We need to take some responsibility," and the Premier said, "Okay, well, you tell me what we have to do." The State Government has shown no ideas and no serious policy application other than what we have seen and heard today, which is what Kevin Rudd has produced. I will talk about that in detail.

I certainly hope that the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General does not suffer the same fate as others. We are not sure why this role was cut but we know that the Prime Minister said the projects are needed and so the role is proceeding. The proposal does not go far enough. The bill is an admission that the system is broken. That is the only conclusion to be drawn when a bill must be introduced to get infrastructure into the market in a prudent and quick way. We have to cut through the present system because it is not working. We must explore why that is the case. Ultimately, we will talk about the Coalition plan. We have spoken about cutting lead times in half and a review is underway. We hope this State Labor Government adopts it.

We will talk about communities having their say and environmental concerns being considered. This legislation allows neither of those. The purpose of the bill is to meet the requirements under the funding arrangements for the Federal Government's Nation Building and Jobs Plan. This is where Kevin's points start to appear. The bill establishes the position of a New South Wales Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to be responsible for all the planning, implementation and timely delivery of these projects. Kevin Rudd has asked for this. The States must meet the delivery deadline, set by Rudd, to receive the funding—another deadline imposed.

Imagine being in the position of running a State government and being given deadlines by a Federal government. If ever there were a vote of no confidence in a government this is it: a Federal government instructing a State government that deadlines must be met and that failure to meet the deadlines will result in funding being withheld. That is an incredible indictment of the current State Government. We really must understand that the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has no confidence in the State Government's systems and he has no confidence in the ability of the Government to meet the timelines associated with the Federal Government's stimulus package.

The Federal Government's plan is to streamline planning and other approval processes. A task force will be established consisting of government and private sector representatives as well as the Co-ordinator General. The bill gives the Co-ordinator General extensive power, and the member for Pittwater will deal with those powers in detail at a later stage of the debate. The bill explicitly excludes a role for councils and local authorities. I state for the record that it is not the fault of councils and local authorities that the system is not working; rather, it is the responsibility of the State Government, and State Labor should heed the warnings that have been given and provide an answer to the question of why the New South Wales Government has not applied a State building and stimulus approach to all existing capital works and infrastructure programs for which the State Government has responsibility. The Opposition certainly supports projects for communities and jobs creation. We also certainly support the stimulus package that has been produced by the Rudd Government. Current economic circumstances require a stimulus package. I will deal with the mini-budget in more detail shortly.

Mr Frank Terenzini: You voted against it last week.

Mr MIKE BAIRD: No, a stimulus package is required.

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: What did you say last week? Let me check.

Mr MIKE BAIRD: The issue last week was the make-up, the timing and the splash of cash. I heard a Government member referring to funds being applied to infrastructure; I think it was "Professor" Collier who said that. He said that funds channelled into infrastructure would create jobs and long-term employment, and he was pleased to be associated with the stimulus package. That is definitely something that should have been debated and considered as part of the Federal Government's win-win approach. The Opposition does not doubt for a minute that government funds should be applied to improvements for schools, as proposed. The Opposition supports that 100 per cent.

However, what must be understood is that there is a genuine concern, following the State Labor Government now facing a tsunami of difficult financial circumstances, over its first approach to addressing the problems, which was to recruit of Graham Wedderburn. There is no way that the arrival of Graham Wedderburn has not had an impact on the State Labor Government. I believe he has told every Government member never to mention the term "mini-budget" and pretend it did not happen. The mini-budget has been consigned to the dustbin of history and the trash has been taken out. I have to say that he was right to do that and right to tell all Government members, the Premier in particular, to forget about the mini-budget.

The mini-budget stands as one of the greatest acts of economic butchery this State has ever seen. It really is appalling. Only the State Labor Government can explain why, in such economic circumstances, it produced a mini-budget that increased taxes and charges to the tune of $3.3 billion and simultaneously cut infrastructure. Government members must rise to the challenge and defend the Government's position. Considering that "Professor" Collier cited a lovely adage on how we should apply our funds, why was he not involved in the mini-budget discussions? That is a good question, and perhaps the Opposition will investigate that matter further.

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Point of order: Standing Order 76 refers to relevance of debate. I ask you to direct the member for Manly to confine his remarks to the leave of the bill.

ASSISTANT-SPEAKER (Mr Grant McBride): Order! There is no point of order.

Mr MIKE BAIRD: The reason the bill is important is that it represents the first step taken by the State Labor Government towards providing a stimulus response to the current economic crisis. I state for the record that Graham Wedderburn has come on board in an attempt to unravel some of the language and substance of policy edicts by the State Labor Government. Last year everybody knew we were in for very difficult times. On 14 September 2008 Alan Greenspan stated:
      I can't believe we could have a once-in-a-century type of financial crisis without a significant impact on the real economy globally, and I think that indeed is what is in the process of occurring

All the signs were present. The global financial crisis was happening all around us, and then the New South Wales Treasurer delivered his mini-budget, which is what Graham Wedderburn has told everybody to forget ever happened. State Labor has a collection of Sergeant Schultzes in action saying, "I know nothing! Mini-budget? I don't know what you're talking about." On 11 November 2008 the Treasurer stated:
      the Government has made difficult decisions and tough choices. However, in the times in which we live difficult decisions need to be made.

The Treasurer contended that the most irresponsible thing the Government could do was to do nothing—and he does nothing very well! He also stated:
      With the decisions announced today in this House and in the other place the Government is confident in the state of our finances and the strength of our economy.

That mini-budget increased taxes and charges, cut infrastructure and flew in the face of the opinion of every economic author and commentator. For some unknown reason the Government decided to go against what every other government in the world was doing, and decided not to implement a stimulus package. There was no State building and jobs plan as part of last year's mini-budget. A word search of the Treasurer's speech reveals that the word "stimulus" was not mentioned once. There was absolutely no mention of stimulus, and I am sure that Graham Wedderburn's advice since then has been that all Government members should take every opportunity to talk about jobs and stimulus packages. That was not a part of the Government's thinking last November, and it is important to bear that in mind as I examine the concerns relating to matters of state and the bill before the House.

On 20 January, which was after the mini-budget had been delivered, Premier Nathan Rees said there was a limit to how much the State could do. He said that the biggest measure of assistance would be the Reserve Bank reducing interest rates. Terrific! That marvellous statement encapsulated the Government's approach. The State Labor Government simply does not regard a prudent economic response in the form of a stimulus package to be part of its responsibility but rather regards the stimulus response as being very much a part of implementing Kevin Rudd's plan. Of course, it will also be used for spin to create the impression that the State Government is taking positive action. The Opposition is onto the Government. The Government must start listening to what economic commentators are saying and take responsibility for its actions. At this stage the State Government is not doing that.

The situation just gets worse. I do not want to unduly take up the time of the House but I must point out the importance of business confidence. As the Government embarks on implementing a stimulus package, business confidence is declining sharply for a range of reasons. The bill purports to create confidence in the business sector and create an environment in which business will confidently invest in jobs and capital expansion as well as work alongside government as infrastructure is delivered. None of that is happening. Last week's Sensis business index stated that New South Wales reached the lowest point ever recorded, and that is not just the last quarter. For 20 successive quarters business confidence in New South Wales has been the lowest in the nation.

The significance of that is that jobs are being created outside New South Wales, and New South Wales is being bypassed. Businesses have no confidence in the fiscal management of the State to the point at which they will invest in capital and employ people. Business has stated that the reasons for losing confidence in the Government are high taxes and payroll taxes affecting small business, and the perception that the Government has internal organisational problems. It is time we started to listen to business and put together considered plans. That is what the Opposition has done.

Another concern of the Opposition relates not just to the economic mismanagement of the State. The Opposition also is concerned about the Government profiting from the implementation of the stimulus package. It is incredible, but the Department of Commerce will take $50 million for implementing the nation-building stimulus package, and that is $50 million that could otherwise be disbursed. The bill will empower the Government to charge developer contributions for projects. The Opposition is concerned that the Government will impose hidden taxes as part of its implementing the Federal Government's stimulus package. In other words, the Government will engage in profiteering. The Opposition has planned to cut red tape in half and has appointed Max Moore-Wilton.

Mrs Karyn Paluzzano: Oh, yes! Max the Axe!

Mr MIKE BAIRD: Government members may scorn Max Moore-Wilton, but he has had considerable experience in the public and private sectors, and he has experience in cutting through red tape to deal with issues that matter—and implementing the Federal Government's stimulus package matters. The issue is not about jobs but, rather, the process of implementation. We have asked Max Moore-Wilton to examine in close detail the processes adopted by the Government and to find out why the Government takes so long to deliver every capital and infrastructure project in the State. They are important matters. Currently, projects lodged with the Roads and Traffic Authority are then referred to the Department of Environment and Climate Change and then to the Department of Planning. By the time a project goes through the whole process, the implementation stage is not reached until years after lodgement. The current process for approval of projects takes far too long.

The Government talks about jobs creation in the State, but the way to deliver jobs efficiently in New South Wales is to cut through lengthy processes and deliver jobs in a timeframe that reflects an understanding of the need for infrastructure to begin operating as soon as is possible. I implore the Government to examine not just the implementation of Kevin Rudd's stimulus package but also the whole process of project approval—including the entire forward infrastructure program and every single capital project—to infuse a sense of urgency about the timely operation of infrastructure. That is the way to turn around the fortunes of the State. The Government's inability to do that is the reason that New South Wales is in its current disappointing position.

The Government must understand that its announcements should mean something. Announcing a project like the North West Metro and then cancelling it six months later erodes confidence in the infrastructure sector. That is turning people away. Why would an infrastructure group spend time in this State when it put resources into a project that it expected to run for 10 years, but which it cancelled within six months? It would be better off spending time in other States. The Government should listen to that concern and start delivering surety in announcements. It must cut through the lead times to start turning the State around. We have confidence in the process. We will make the process public, and we are happy for the Labor Government to take it up. The Government should look at our payroll tax plan, which is not tokenism but shows that we have been listening to business. The ANZ figures released today show that job advertisements are down 25 per cent. That is almost 50 per cent in a year.

Businesses are hurting; sales and profits are going down and, not surprisingly, unemployment will follow. The Government must start providing some relief and joining in this battle. We support the appointment of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. However, the powers of the Co-ordinator General could be extended across the whole of government in terms of a process that cuts in half lead times of capital infrastructure projects. The Government should adopt the Coalition's policy. Our final concern is expressed so well by Michael Costa—we want to put this concern on the table—when he says, "In any case, given the historically large existing State capital works spending and the recurring problems in delivering State capital works programs, delivering on the Federal Government's capital works program at the same time will be, as Sir Humphrey Appleby might have said, 'extremely challenging'." We ask the Government to do that. We will watch every project that the Government commences. The Government must maintain the timelines because the future of this State depends on it.

Mrs KARYN PALUZZANO (Penrith—Parliamentary Secretary) [5.31 p.m.]: I support the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. Other Government members have referred to the unique opportunity that the Commonwealth Government's Nation Building and Jobs Plan provides to improve education, housing and road infrastructure across this State. This bill shows the Government's commitment to the Nation Building and Jobs Plan by putting mechanisms in place to ensure that works will be started and completed in time to qualify for Commonwealth funding. The bill is totally linked to the Federal stimulus package. When the money is received and spent, this bill will no longer be required. Part 3 of the bill requires State agencies to cooperate with the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to ensure that projects are delivered on time. As the member for Manly said, the State Government is taking an amount. However, he failed to realise that that money will not sit in a box somewhere for all of us to look at. The Nation Building and Jobs Plan is also about creating jobs. This State will have the biggest infrastructure spend this side of the Olympics.

Mr Mike Baird: This side of the Olympics?

Mrs KARYN PALUZZANO: Since the Olympics. Members opposite joke about the amount of infrastructure funding and the time in which it must be spent, but this Government will manage it. I will welcome the person who is employed to coordinate projects such as school halls and the new trade skills centre at Kingswood High School. A person employed in a local area will go to local businesses for goods and services. The Opposition fails to realise that this is all about jobs and that jobs will be created as a result of this package. The bill imposes an obligation on State Government agencies to cooperate with the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General on infrastructure projects, including providing information and assistance and complying with reasonable requests of the Co-ordinator General for the agency to exercise functions in a timely manner.

The bill also enables the Minister to direct State Government agencies responsible for, or involved with, the delivery of infrastructure projects to comply with the request or direction of the Co-ordinator General. The member for Manly made an interesting comment about the mini-budget. It is as though the Premier did not stand at Jamisontown Public School last year and announce the $100 million Principals Priorities Program for school maintenance. That announcement in the mini-budget is bringing forward maintenance projects. Under the Principals Priorities Program, at the end of last year every principal in New South Wales submitted their top three maintenance projects, whether it be a ceiling, a roof, sewage or school fencing. The announcement of $100 million for school maintenance in the mini-budget is being delivered. The school community of Jamisontown Public School is thankful for that maintenance spending; the school made representations to me about school fencing.

I am proud that the Premier announced the Principals Priorities Program at Jamisontown Public School, which endorsed the work done by the parents and citizens and the local community in Jamisontown. That is just one small representation. Projects undertaken by the Rudd and Rees governments over the next two years are not only in education: the package provides not only $4.4 billion for schools but also $2 billion for new social housing. That social housing will have to be planned, built and delivered over the next two years. Under part 4 of the bill, the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General will take over the delivery of infrastructure projects on behalf of State Government agencies pursuant to project authorisation orders. The $4.4 billion in school funding and $2 billion in social housing funding will be delivered. Project authorisation orders will be made when project delivery times would not otherwise be met by the relevant agencies and it is necessary for the Co-ordinator General to take over the delivery of a project to ensure that it is delivered on time.

If such an order is made the Co-ordinator General will be able to exercise all the functions of the agency in relation to the project. The Co-ordinator General will also be able to issue directions to the agency. Part 4 also provides the Co-ordinator General with all the powers necessary to complete the projects, which are taken over pursuant to project authorisation orders. This bill will ensure that we deliver infrastructure to the people of New South Wales. Last Friday in my electorate I attended a round table that was auspiced by the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce. Business leaders, representatives of the local council—councillors as well as council officers—and people from a range of businesses in the Penrith area attended the round table. They were concerned about the minutiae and the lack of information from those opposite. They want to know where the traineeships and apprentices will be located.

Today in question time we heard about a local company, Eastern Nomad. I will report to the Penrith Valley Alliance—the alliance resulted from the round table—that Eastern Nomad, the company that is providing the prefab for the school halls, will increase its employee numbers from 60 to 90. Those are local jobs in western Sydney—90 jobs in Blacktown. I will be able to tell Judith Field, who is a representative there, that the construction company has four young apprentices. I am pleased that this local company is responding and is taking the initiative to be part of the stimulus package. Those are real jobs in real locations in western Sydney that will help families and provide employment to apprentices in the local area. With this legislation, the Government is supporting employment. It supports the Federal Government's stimulus package.

For the information of the member for Hawkesbury, who is not in the Chamber, the Government's $56 billion worth of infrastructure spend is directly underpinning a total of 180 jobs. The Blacktown business I mentioned is one example of a company benefiting from the stimulus package. The $56 billion worth of infrastructure will include am easy access upgrade at Emu Plains, school improvements at Lapstone, Glenbrook and Kingswood, improvements to the new after hours general practitioner clinic, the accident and emergency department at Nepean Hospital—the list goes on. Training for the future to make sure that New South Wales is the cleverest State will support the infrastructure spend.

I note that the $56 billion spend on infrastructure during the next four years will underpin 150,00 jobs across the State. The Government is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Federal Government's Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which New South Wales will fast-track with this legislation. That is why it is important for members to support this vital bill. Because of the global financial crisis we must invest better for our future. These will be tough times. I am proud of the business in Blacktown that is increasing its employee numbers from 60 to 90 because of this stimulus package. Families in New South Wales will have a hard time financially. That is why investing $56 billion during the next four years is important. However, we also have to ensure that this legislation is made strong for the Nation Building and Jobs Plan. We must have a commitment from the Co-ordinator General to ensure that projects are delivered on time.

The Australian Treasury estimates some 230,000 jobs will be established in areas such as retrofitting homes, and large commercial and trade buildings. Last week I had the pleasure to be with the Premier, the Minister for Education and Training, and the Deputy Prime Minister at Cambridge Park High School when the announcement about the Federal Trade Centre was made. Every metal trade area at Blaxland, Nepean, Kingwood, Glenmore Park, Cranebrook and Cambridge Park high schools will be retrofitted. When Glenmore Park High School was constructed it did not have what was known as a metalwork laboratory. This morning I was at Nepean High School, which has the same metalwork laboratory it had when I went to that school. It will be retrofitted as a part of the trade centre announcement. That retrofit will provide local jobs. The trade centre will be Kingswood High School, which is two blocks from a TAFE and one block from a university. Jobs will be provided not only for its construction but also as part of the vocational training network. I welcome that multi-million dollar announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister in western Sydney.

In a prior economic crisis the then Federal Government put its head in the sand and said, "no skills". The Howard Government did not develop skills and train apprentices. In these tough economic times the Government is considering what impact skills development will have by investing money into it. By the time the economy is in better shape the skilled force will be ready. It is about making sure that this State is clever and is geared to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Rudd Government. We should be proud that the Commonwealth Government's Nation Building Jobs Plan will provide improvement in schools, social housing and roads infrastructure in New South Wales. I commend the bill to the House.

Mr ROB STOKES (Pittwater) [5.45 p.m.]: Although the Opposition does not oppose the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009 it has serious concerns about why it is needed in the first place. If our planning processes and system were working properly this bill would simply not be required. Under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan announced by the Commonwealth Government, $21.5 billion of the entire stimulus package would be directed to the States for the purposes of infrastructure provision for education, social housing, and road and rail infrastructure. I will not refer to other parts of the stimulus package that are being frittered away. Nonetheless, money is being directed and targeted for building things that this Government has neglected to provide in its 14 years in office.

Due to the goodwill of the previous Federal Government over a decade the Australian economy has weathered the global recession quite well so far. However, we all know that worse is to come, so this stimulus is very much needed for our State economy. As part of providing this money to the States the Council of Australian Governments [COAG] agreed to national coordination arrangements, one of which this bill is designed to implement—that is, to have an Infrastructure Co-ordinator General whose process it is to assess and deliver the infrastructure under which the Nation Building and Jobs Plan is being provided. As its communiqué states, COAG also recognised:
      There remains considerable scope for further micro-economic reform in the following areas:

major city strategic plans that incorporate clear provisions for long-term infrastructure needs;

planning reforms for individual infrastructure projects

      Leaders agreed to support that microeconomic reform agenda and papers will be prepared for discussion at the next COAG meeting.
What has the New South Wales Government been doing for the past decade or more? If those things still need to be addressed why has the New South Wales Government not addressed them and why is this bill necessary to paper over the massive cracks within the New South Wales planning framework? My colleague the shadow Minister, the member for Wakehurst, referred to the Legislative Council inquiry into the State planning framework. It is ironic that the terms of that inquiry were announced immediately after the reforms that will be retrofitted to planning legislation the Government passed through Parliament last year. If this Government keeps getting it wrong and keeps admitting that the planning laws need to be changed, why is this type of legislation needed to fill the gaps? It is simply not good enough.

Certainly the Opposition recognises that extraordinary times such as these call for extraordinary measures. Communities have well-founded concerns about what these extraordinary measures mean for good planning in their local communities. Certainly our local communities have learnt to expect nothing less from this Government other than the erosion of their rights to participate, to be informed, to have appeals, to genuine democracy, to genuine deliberation, to dialogue and to discourse about planning proposals that affect their local communities. What is truly extraordinary is that this legislation is required at all.

A wise person once pointed out to me that proper planning prevents poor performance. This is a classic example. If the planning system were properly organised, we would not need this legislation. South Australia does not require an amendment to its development Act. It has simply passed regulations, which will expire when the nation-building money runs out. It does not need special legislation to facilitate the expenditure of this money. Why do we need this legislation? It demonstrates the failure of our existing legislation. I will now comment on the bill, and there is much that needs comment. In the explanatory note, paragraph (a) of the overview states that the purpose of the bill is to:
      establish a NSW Infrastructure Co-ordinator General who will be responsible for planning and implementing the timely delivery of the infrastructure projects

Considering the Government has just seen the resignation of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General, it is ironic for the Government to set one up a few months later. Paragraph (b) states:
      establish an advisory Taskforce consisting of government and private sector representatives

Again, just last year the Government, under the growth centres legislation, abolished the board of the Growth Centres Commission. Clearly, the Government is at the wrong end of history. The final paragraph of the overview of the bill states:
      enables the Co-ordinator General to streamline the planning and other approval processes for infrastructure projects

That is political speak, if ever I have heard it—streamline planning and approval processes. This is not a matter of streamlining processes; it is a matter of getting rid of any process whatsoever. Clause 5 (2) of the bill states:

      Development is taken to be funded under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan if the Co-ordinator General certifies, by order in writing Development cannot be certified after the erection of those buildings or the carrying out of those works is completed.

I want to ask the Minister a question about modifications to projects. Some projects will be complex and involve a lot of modifications along the way.

    The Minister for Planning says that erection of school halls does not necessarily go on for a long time. The Minister should be aware that this legislation also applies to roads and infrastructure projects, which can be complex. My question is: Does it apply to modifications?
    ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! The Minister will direct her comments through the Chair.

    Mr ROB STOKES: Subclause (3) of clause 7, Advisory Taskforces, states:
        The members of a Taskforce are entitled to be paid such remuneration as the Minister determines (including re-imbursement for travelling, accommodation and other expenses incurred in exercising their functions).

    So a task force, if not a series of task forces, has the role of creating yet more planning panels in our planning process. Rather than streamlining the process, the Government is establishing more panels, again at public expense. It is another layer of bureaucracy. As we have seen time and again, on each of the 87 occasions that the Government has amended the planning laws since it came into power in 1995, it has added more layers of bureaucracy. Ironically, every time it says it, it is in an effort to reduce or cut red tape. Under part 3 of the bill, clause 9, Obligations of government agencies, states:

    A government agency has the following obligations in respect of infrastructure projects;

    (a) to co-operate with the Co-ordinator General

    (b) to provide resources and assistance in accordance with any request of the Co-ordinator General

    This provision juxtaposes with the planning reforms introduced last year where a similar obligation was placed on local councils to comply with panels appointed over them or with greater powers. Under those reforms, not only were councils required to cooperate with the panels, but also a sanction was applied if they did not. A general manager or council officer could be fined for failing to comply with a panel's directions. There is no sanction in clause 9—it may as well not be there—states that government agencies have to cooperate, but there is no sanction if they do not. Under part 4, subclause (1) of clause 18, Acquisition of land, states:
        The State of NSW may, for the purposes of the exercise of the functions of the Co-ordinator General in relation to an infrastructure project as authorised by a project authorisation order, acquire land by agreement or compulsory process in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.

    On first glance, that seems reasonable. To facilitate important infrastructure, it is necessary to resume land. All governments hold on to that power, and it is appropriate for them to do so. Clause 18 (4) states that the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General may act for the State of New South Wales in connection with this power. I am concerned that people may be prevented from lodging any type of appeal in relation to the exercise of these powers. Pursuant to clause 27 (1) (c), a court challenge cannot be made against the making of a project authorisation order under part 4. If issues relating to a project authorisation cannot be the subject of court proceedings then, in relation to the acquisition of land, does a person have the right to appeal a land valuation under the Land and Environment Court Act? The problem when we abolish any process is that we end up with real problems. If it does extinguish a person's right to challenge the valuation of land, that is a matter of concern to private property owners and civil liberties generally. If a person can challenge, then surely that negates the purpose of the bill. It could undermine the whole purpose of the bill by slowing up the process. This matter must be addressed. [Extension of time agreed to.]
      Clause 22 relates to development control legislation, which is overridden by this legislation. When we talk about development control legislation, we are not only talking about the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. We are talking about permits under any of the environmental Acts—coastal protection, fisheries management, heritage including State heritage, national parks and wildlife, rivers and foreshore, native vegetation, rural fire, water management, threatened species conservation. It refers to all these Acts and processes, which raises a fundamental point. If the infrastructure that is being provided is so important it overrides the need for these environmental checks and balances, does that bring into question the whole system? Why are we removing these processes in relation to only some classes of development? Are we papering over problems in the planning system or are we engaging in the fundamental reform that the planning system requires?

          Mr Steve Whan: What does Max the Axe say?

          Mr ROB STOKES: He is more of a surgeon. Clause 24 relates to the authorisation of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to carry out infrastructure projects. If an applicant proposes to carry out an infrastructure project, this legislation sets up a process whereby the applicant applies in writing to the Co-ordinator General. There is no provision in the Act that any of this information will be made publicly available. The written proposal provides a quick overview of the infrastructure project. Subclause (4) of clause 24 states:

          The Co-ordinator General may authorise the carrying out of the infrastructure project subject to any conditions set out or referred to in the authorisation.

      This is another area that again the legislation breaks apart. The Co-ordinator General can set conditions but there is no process under the legislation whereby these conditions can be enforced. There is no point in setting conditions if there is no mechanism for enforcing or monitoring them or ensuring that they are carried out. There is no enforcement provision for conditions that are put on infrastructure projects—not even the Building Code of Australia is given as a condition that must be met. Further, because the bill overrides all the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, the prescribed conditions set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation also do not apply. Therefore, there is no power in the bill to ensure that what one would consider to be fundamental conditions—notwithstanding all the other bits and pieces to ensure that something is built safely and properly—are met.
      Clause 24 (6) (h) provides that the conditions of an authorisation to carry out an infrastructure project may, without any limitation of any kind, include development contributions by the person carrying out the project for other State, regional or local infrastructure. That is an odd provision because as money is provided by the Federal Government—taxpayers' money—why should the State be in a position to levy development contributions on the expenditure of funds for infrastructure projects using Federal money? It is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Development contributions should not be elicited from Federal funds; it is tantamount to misappropriation of funds if development contributions are levied upon them.

      I have real concerns with part 6 of the bill, headed "Miscellaneous", in relation to what is euphemistically called the protection of "the exercise of certain functions". Basically, it refers to quashing any right in law or in equity to bring any proceedings in relation to any aspect of a certification given by the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. I note there is an exemption relating to proceedings to corruption, so the corruption risk is dealt with. However, conflicts of interest by a Minister or the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General are not dealt with. The bill does not address the situation when a decision by a Minister or the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General is manifestly unreasonable, and it certainly does not deal with mistakes in jurisdictional fact—that is, when the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General might say he has jurisdiction to give a certain authorisation when he does not, and a project for which he is giving approval is not technically a project to which these Federal funds apply. The right of any person to bring any legal challenge to that is extinguished by part 6 of the bill.

      The bill endeavours to make provisions in polite terms, but it states that one type of proceeding that cannot be brought relates to the improper exercise of functions by the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. That is appalling, and it reflects badly on this place, when a bill prevents people from bringing legal action relating to the improper exercise of functions by a public official. There is something fundamentally wrong with that provision. Part 6, clause 30 of the bill covers the review of the exercise of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General's functions. Other jurisdictions have acted to facilitate a co-ordinator general to oversight the expenditure of these funds, and the moment the funds are used that co-ordinator general's role automatically ceases to exist. Not so with this bill. Under clause 30 of the bill a review of the exercise of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General's functions is given to a joint committee of Parliament unless no joint committee can undertake the review. One wonders what circumstances that would entail.

      In that case, the Minister may appoint another appropriately qualified person to undertake the review, but, again, no definition is given of what appropriately qualified person might undertake to do that. That provision takes the review out of the purview of the democratically elected representatives of the people. Under clause 31 the repeal of the Act may be determined by the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. So he is in the position of determining when to turf himself out of a job. It is quite strange to have a person determine when his employment and the Act under which he is employed will come to an end. The challenge for the Government is to devise a real planning system and not to paper over cracks in the existing one. [Time expired.]

      Mr STEVE WHAN (Monaro—Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Small Business) [6.05 p.m.]: I have great pleasure in supporting the important Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009, which will help to deliver the Rudd Government's infrastructure packages and their economic boost for the Australian economy. This is an absolutely vital bill. So far our economy has not experienced the worst-case scenario, as some overseas economies have. But I note the apparent confusion of the member for Pittwater and other Opposition members as to whether they support the bill. The member for Pittwater appeared confused about whether it is good to override laws. I will focus on the important economic impact the bill will have on the electorate of Monaro by allowing vital projects, such as those involving schools and public housing in particular, to go ahead.

      Projects that are likely to be funded by the National Building and Jobs Plan will prove to be absolute positives for the community and for local businesses, particularly small businesses that will be awarded contracts to carry out the work. It is worth highlighting that point, as well as the reasons why it is so important to support the bill. Money will be spent on local educational projects such as replacing demountable libraries and other demountable buildings and a range of other school-based projects. That will build on the State Government's commitment to stimulate the economy through its record capital works spending—something that has given a vital boost to the electorate of Monaro. The State Government's program of economic investment delivers the Principals Priority Program under which the Queanbeyan West Public School and Queanbeyan South Public School obtained a new security fence. We have seen a range of other—

      Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: The Minister is referring to infrastructure provided by the State Government. Mr Rudd declared and directed specifically that State infrastructure that was already on the agenda would not form part of the bill, and it does not form part of this bill. The Minister is not within the purview of the bill and I ask that you rule him out of order.

      Ms Kristina Keneally: To the point of order: Mr Acting-Speaker—

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! The member for Wakehurst has raised a point of order. Is the Minister for Planning rising on that point of order?

      Ms Kristina Keneally: Yes. I note that members who have spoken on this bill have been allowed latitude by the Chair to speak about infrastructure projects funded by both the State and Commonwealth governments. That latitude has been allowed to members opposite. I ask that you allow the Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Small Business to continue his remarks in the same vein as members opposite.

      Mr Brad Hazzard: Further to the point of order: Not a single, solitary member on this side has talked about local issues.

      Ms Kristina Keneally: Further to the point of order: Mr Acting-Speaker—

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! Members will remain seated until they receive the call.

      Ms Kristina Keneally: The Hansard will show that the member for Wakehurst and the member for Hawkesbury canvassed quite significantly infrastructure projects that were not funded by the Commonwealth stimulus package.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! This debate has been wide-ranging. I was in the Chamber earlier when members were speaking to the bill. A number of Government members interjected at the time. The Minister will confine his remarks to the leave of the bill. The bill is wide-ranging, as stated on page 2 of the bill.

      Mr STEVE WHAN: The member for Wakehurst is sensitive about discussing the achievements of the Labor Government in New South Wales and the way that two infrastructure packages dovetail to provide an economic boost to jobs in rural and regional New South Wales, particularly the Monaro electorate. The replacement of demountable libraries—a program that will be funded by this package—will produce jobs here in Sydney. As the Premier highlighted today, it will be a spectacular boost for local schools to have better facilities and for local contractors to be employed delivering those facilities. There will be a significant economic boost and multiplier effect from construction jobs, particularly in rural and regional New South Wales, with a considerable number of small projects being delivered quickly.
      The infrastructure projects will build on important work such as the toilet improvements at Berridale school that the State Government delivered recently; new science laboratories, which the Commonwealth Government has been talking about in its infrastructure funding; and upgrades at Bombala, Braidwood, Karabar and Monaro high schools, which were funded recently under this Government's program—again dovetailing with the work of the Federal Government. The Commonwealth is providing funding to improve facilities in a range of public housing. That is absolutely critical work. Just before Christmas, as part of its injection of funds to stimulate the economy, the Government announced that it would bring forward a range of public housing maintenance. The Federal Government's program will add to our ability to maintain our public housing.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! If members wish to conduct conversations they will do so outside the Chamber.

      Mr STEVE WHAN: Many public housing tenants in Queanbeyan, Cooma and in other parts of the Monaro electorate will have their housing upgraded significantly as a result of State and Federal expenditure. That is a real positive. In Queanbeyan one in 13 houses is rental public housing so the package will make an important contribution in a city where rental rates are almost the second highest in Australia. The Rudd Government's package is a real change from the policies of the Howard Government, which failed miserably to support public housing. The Howard Government pushed people to access rent assistance. In an area such as the one I represent, where rentals are the second highest in Australia, it meant that a lot of people could not afford housing. We are now seeing investment in public housing. Since the last election more than 60 new public houses have been built in Queanbeyan, worth more than $10 million.

      Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: The Opposition certainly does not oppose spending any money on social housing. But the point of this bill is that it is in futuro: it is about not what has been done but what will be done. That is stated clearly in section 5, and if the Minister wants to address those issues we will listen happily to his views on the bill. But if he intends simply to give us a rundown on what his Government may or may not have done in the past, he is outside the leave of the bill.

      Mr Frank Terenzini: To the point of order: I reiterate what the Minister said previously—

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! What is the member's point of order?

      Mr Frank Terenzini: My point of order is that members opposite were given significant latitude to talk about the self-same topic—

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! Under which standing order is the member taking a point of order?

      Mr Frank Terenzini: It is relevance.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! I repeat: Under which standing order is the member taking a point of order?

      Mr Frank Terenzini: Standing Order 76 says clearly that the argument must be relevant to the debate. Members opposite have been given the latitude to speak on the self-same topic as was raised by the Minister has.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! There is no point of order. I extended the Minister a degree of latitude. However, he will confine his remarks to the leave of the bill and refer to future projects.

      Mr STEVE WHAN: I know the Opposition is sensitive about the Government's achievements so I will speak about the support, or otherwise, for programs such as the Rudd Government's stimulus package. First, I put on record my congratulations to the Hon. Mike Kelly, the Federal member for Eden-Monaro, on his work in supporting this package, which will bring such a big boost to the people of the Monaro and Eden-Monaro electorates, and to many schools. I expect a number of schools in the Monaro electorate to benefit directly from this funding, which dovetails with the ongoing work by the State in future projects, such as the fencing at Queanbeyan West Public School.

      Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: I admire the Minister's enthusiasm—

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! What is the member's point of order?

      Mr Brad Hazzard: It is the same point of order as before: The Minister should address his remarks to the bill. It contains certain provisions. He is the Minister for Emergency Services; why does he not explain why he is prepared to have bushfire protection overruled by this bill?

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! The member for Wakehurst will resume his seat. The Minister will confine his remarks to the leave of the bill and refer to future projects.

      Mr STEVE WHAN: That was an interesting point of order given that the member for Wakehurst has indicated he will vote for the legislation. I cannot understand why he intends to vote for the legislation if he is so opposed to particular aspects of it. I point out that the vast bulk of the projects, particularly those involving schools, will occur on existing land. So in many cases there is no need to look at certain issues; they have been dealt with already. Important legislation is needed because an economic boost is needed. The Federal Coalition's opposition to this package, a package that will boost infrastructure projects and the economy, reveals that it lives in a bubble and thinks that world economic conditions do not require action on the part of the New South Wales Government or the Federal Government. The same thing has happened in the Australian Capital Territory, where the Liberals and the Greens have indicated that they will vote against similar legislation that is needed to get this stimulus package up.

      Why is this such an important measure and why do we need an economic boost? We need only to look at our international trading partners—for instance, recently the American economy had 6.2 per cent negative growth and the Japanese economy had 12 per cent negative growth—to see why Australia needs to act now and why the Rudd Government's initiatives are so important. As we have seen during today's debate, the Opposition's failure to lend its unequivocal support to these issues reveals once again that it is more interested in political point scoring than in generating and preserving jobs in local economies and ensuring the future of those economies. As Minister for Small Business I point out again that the best way to help small enterprises is to generate business through their doors. That is what this sort of package does, and that is why this legislation is so important. It goes hand in hand with the New South Wales Government's economic stimulus measures for this State, delivered through record capital works expenditure. I commend the bill to the House.

      Mr DONALD PAGE (Ballina) [6.17 p.m.]: I make a brief contribution to debate on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. In so doing, I commend particularly the erudite contributions of the member for Wakehurst, the shadow Minister for Infrastructure, and the member for Pittwater. I support strongly the construction of important infrastructure to deliver better services for the people of this State and the nation, and also to protect and create jobs, including the flow-on effects for small business. However, I have concerns about the powers this legislation gives to the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General, the way this legislation takes away the normal environmental and community protection that applies under current planning laws, and the way in which this legislation deprives local communities of having a say about local developments—even when those projects are roads, schools, social housing and other infrastructure.

      I draw some comfort from the fact that the legislation applies only to the expenditure of the Federal Government's $42 billion stimulus package and will conclude when this money is spent. Having said that—and acknowledging the need to support jobs and infrastructure investment in these difficult economic times—how tempting would it be for a Labor government, especially this State Labor Government, to extend the legislation to support subsequent stimulus packages by either State or Federal governments in the future? It is always important to protect jobs and build infrastructure, especially in the current economic climate when thousands of jobs are being shed across the State and the nation every month. That is the rationale for this legislation and the reason why ultimately the Coalition will not oppose it. However, I point out that the fact the legislation is necessary underscores the fact that our planning system in this State has become almost dysfunctional.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! There is too much audible conversation in the Chamber. Members will listen to the member for Ballina in silence.

      Mr DONALD PAGE: The fact that this bill is necessary underscores the reality that the planning system in New South Wales has become almost dysfunctional. It should be possible under the current planning laws to deliver new roads, schools and other infrastructure of the type outlined in the stimulus package in a timely manner and with proper assessments being made of both the environmental and social impacts. The fact that this legislation is necessary is a reflection on the inadequacy of the current planning system in New South Wales and its inability to deliver major projects in a timely manner having been subject to proper assessment and with the local community having had a say. The bill robs local communities of the opportunity to have a say about the impact of the projects outlined in the Federal Government's stimulus package. Indeed, clause 27 (2) specifies that a right of appeal will not exist. It states:
          The exercise by any protected person of any protected function may not be:
      (a) challenged, reviewed, quashed or called into question before any court of law or administrative review body in any proceedings, or

          (b) restrained, removed or otherwise affected by any proceedings.
      It is quite clear that the community will not have any right of appeal against the decisions of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. I know this is of particular concern to the people of my electorate because so many decisions have been made by this Government under part 3A of the Act to exclude the opportunity for the local community and in many cases the local council to have input into the decisions. While I support the need to stimulate our economy in the current economic circumstances I am concerned about this legislation taking away environmental and community assessment in the planning process. As I said, no-one will be able to challenge, review or call into question before any court or administrative review body any of the projects outlined in the Federal Government's stimulus package. This effectively silences the ability of the community to have a voice, and that in turn is inconsistent with the fundamental principles underpinning our democracy—that is, people should have a right to have a say.

      If our planning system were working properly, this legislation would not be required. As the member for Pittwater pointed out in his contribution, such legislation is not required in South Australia because it has planning laws that are capable of delivering these major infrastructure projects in a timely manner after they have been subject to full environmental and social assessment. I also make the point, as the member for Pittwater did, that there is an issue here in relation to modification of these projects. How will that be dealt with? The Government and the Minister need to take a very close look at what will happen if these projects require modification. We support the package but I have serious concerns about how the community will be excluded from the process.

      Mr FRANK TERENZINI (Maitland) [6.22 p.m.]: I support the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009, which has specific aims and objectives and is being enacted to fulfil those objectives. We have a golden opportunity with the amount of money—over $7 billion—being given to us by the Federal Government to improve school buildings and structures and public housing. Governments all over the Western World are pouring trillions of dollars into their economies. The Australian Government is no different. It is doing this through its $42 billion stimulus package. The Opposition has no direction whatsoever. On the one hand, last week Opposition members voted in this House against the stimulus package; on the other hand, today they have said that they will not vote against this bill but they have not said anything positive about it. That is a totally confusing position to adopt. All I can say is it is a good thing that the members opposite are in Opposition and we are in Government, otherwise this bill might never get off the ground.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! The member for Maitland will confine his remarks to the leave of the bill.

      Mr FRANK TERENZINI: I have. The bill will bring over $7 billion of investment to New South Wales. It is specifically targeted at school sites and public housing. When that work has been done there is provision in the bill to wind things up. When Opposition members make far-fetched, vague and irrelevant statements about planning they should remember that this bill has been introduced for a specific purpose. One of the reasons the planning legislation has been streamlined is the time limit; we have about 20 months to erect 6,000 public homes. That means things have to be done to get these projects off the ground. We cannot dillydally. We have to make sure the projects get off the ground. There are 800-metre limits around railway stations and 400-metre limits around centres.

      We have devised these guidelines and given the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General a very onerous task to make sure these things are done. It is important that the projects get going from the point of view of the jobs they will create and the multiplier effect they will have. We are very constrained by the time limit. We have an opportunity to comply with the Federal Government's demands to ensure that 6,000 new public homes are built and that 3,000 schools are equipped with gymnasiums, science laboratories and such facilities. I remind members of the reason that the bill has been introduced and wholeheartedly commend it to the House.

      Mr JOHN WILLIAMS (Murray-Darling) [6.25 p.m.]: There is no doubt that the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009is a vote of no confidence by the Federal Government in this Government's ability to manage its planning. The Federal Government has had to put in place some amazing laws to try to get the job done. The reality is there have been many lost opportunities over the years. I see that often in my electorate because I have regularly crossed the border into Victoria and have seen firsthand the situation there. The money proposed to be spent today by the Federal Government could quite easily have been spent by private enterprise in New South Wales if the Department of Planning showed any flexibility or had the ability to adjust its draconian red tape and bureaucratic style and get on with business. Just yesterday I was at a property at Buronga, where a major development should be taking place. It is a farming property that is being strangled by residential development. For 12 years it has been proposed to develop this area and the Department of Planning has got in the way of progress. This is an ongoing situation—

      Ms Kristina Keneally: Point of order: I ask you to uphold the previous ruling you made on the point of order by the member for Wakehurst and ask the member to speak to the infrastructure projects funded under the bill. You made a ruling in response to an objection by the member for Wakehurst when you asked the member with the call to limit his remarks to the bill and the projects funded under the bill. The member for Murray-Darling is not doing that and I ask you to apply your ruling.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! The member for Murray-Darling will direct his remarks to the leave of the bill.

      Mr JOHN WILLIAMS: It is amazing how this Government reacts to the touch of a magic wand. It had the opportunity to do exactly that on many occasions in the past. This sort of legislation could have been enacted and we could have got on with business—

      Mr David Harris: Now you are accusing us of going too slow.

      Mr JOHN WILLIAMS: I am not accusing you of going too slow. I want to get the job done.

      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Thomas George): Order! Members will direct their comments through the Chair.

      Mr JOHN WILLIAMS: It would be nice for me to be able to go back to my electorate and tell Joe and Teresa Camira that the planning application they have had before the State Government for 12 years can go ahead if the Department of Planning shows some flexibility. There may be one positive out of all of this: the Department of Planning may suddenly have to adjust its thinking. It might realise that all the red tape and bureaucracy it puts into place in planning decisions is not required and we might get on with business.

      Mr ANDREW FRASER (Coffs Harbour) [6.30 p.m.]: All we have heard throughout the past two or three question times is the Government asking members to support the Rudd Government's plans for New South Wales. Is this a State Government administering State projects or is it a State Government paying lip service or obeisance to a Federal Government that is picking up the slack that this Government has not picked up for the past 14 years? This Government has not provided an appropriate level of funding for many years to projects such as the upgrade of the Pacific Highway, which was supposed to be completed in 2006. The Federal Government is now providing funding to address this Government's lack of attention to that project and others like it. The Minister at the table is desperate to ensure that we stick to the leave of the bill. This legislation proves the Government's ineptitude. In a desperate effort to win the next Federal election—which will be held before the next State election—Mr Rudd must appear to be doing something in New South Wales or to be getting this Government off its backside to deliver infrastructure projects that have been promised for many years.

      I have some real concerns about this legislation. First, it states that developer contributions will be payable to the State Government for projects funded under the legislation. That is double dipping of the worst kind. This State Government is both financially and morally bankrupt. The Federal Government is handing out $42 billion, and this Government intends to take the cream off the top. It has done that in the past with federally funded Roads and Traffic Authority projects by collecting huge levies. How much of the $42 billion will be paid back to the State Government by way of developer contributions? What percentage of the $42 billion does the Minister expect to be paid back to the State Government? How will those funds be spent, or will they be slipped into consolidated revenue and wasted? We need that infrastructure spending in regional New South Wales, but it will probably be wasted in marginal seats in Sydney.

      For the past few years this Government has been involved in a major push to flog off to developers premium Crown land in coastal regions of New South Wales. I am extremely worried that the Government will say that these projects are significant and will therefore be funded through the stimulus package. As a result, someone will be approving projects that the local communities of Coffs Harbour or other coastal towns do not want. I draw the attention of the House to the fact that we no longer have a Minister at the table. Is the House in order?

      I also draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Government was trying to flog off the foreshore at Coffs Harbour despite strenuous local objection. The local high school hung banners stating, "Don't sell our heritage", and the Minister for Education and Training ordered their removal. Talk about democracy in action! I want an assurance that projects that will lead to the overdevelopment of coastal land will not be signed off by the Government under this legislation. I want a guarantee that proposed projects such as the $1 million Brelsford Park development in Coffs Harbour will be proceeded with in consultation with the community. We do not want to end up with monstrosities. Local government and the local people must have some say in what infrastructure will be provided under this legislation. The Government and project administrators should not ride roughshod over local objection and local planning processes. Important coastal land must be protected and overdevelopment should not occur. I have some real concerns and I ask that the Minister address them in her response.

      Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE (Bega) [6.35 p.m.]: Given the time constraints, I will not repeat the arguments already presented with regard to the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. I refer the House to clause 24, which deals with the authorisation of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to carry out infrastructure projects. Clause 26 provides:

      (6) The conditions of an authorisation to carry out an infrastructure project may (without limitation) include conditions relating to any of the following:

      (h) development contributions by the person carrying out the project for other State, regional or local infrastructure,

      The Opposition is concerned about development contributions. That subclause could be read to suggest that the State Government will do nothing more than launder Federal money. I presume that that money will end up in Department of Commerce's coffers or in the consolidated revenue fund. The Government should clarify what will happen with those development contributions. This Rudd plan is about addressing the global recession, and this State Government has been required to introduce specialised planning laws because its planning infrastructure is inadequate. Given that, one must wonder how much money—I suspect that it will be tens of millions of dollars or even hundreds of millions of dollars—will be laundered by this State Government. At the same time it will limit the funds available to be invested in infrastructure. The Government is doing that to secure additional funds for the consolidated revenue fund. We are talking about school and social housing projects. If the development contribution is set at 1 per cent, the Federal Government could collect $420 million across the nation.

      The Minister at the table should spell out what is meant by "development contributions". If she does not, Nathan Rees will stand accused of laundering Commonwealth moneys to advantage this State. This bill constitutes an admission by the State Government that its planning laws are hopelessly inadequate and need to be rewritten. No other State has been required to introduce legislation such as this to be able to roll out the Commonwealth's infrastructure stimulus package. That speaks volumes about Frank Sartor and the way he has administered planning in this State over the past couple of years. Minister Keneally must now clean up the mess. I am very keen to hear what the Minister has to say about development contributions.

      Mr MICHAEL RICHARDSON (Castle Hill) [6.39 p.m.]: I am not surprised that the Government would want to introduce a bill entitled the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. Since 1995 this Government has demonstrably failed to deliver on both counts—on infrastructure and certainly on jobs. This State now enjoys—if one can use that word in this context—the second highest level of unemployment in Australia, and last week we were told that we recorded the lowest growth of any State apart from South Australia.

      This Government is aiming for jobs, jobs and more jobs. Nobody suggests that some sort of stimulus package should not be put in place, but this Government is not the government to deliver it. So far as my electorate of Castle Hill is concerned, the title of this bill is a misnomer, and so far as this Government is concerned, nation building and infrastructure delivery are foreign concepts. I understand that this package is designed to fast track the New South Wales Government's implementation of the Federal Government's $42 billion package for Australia. Opposition members understand the necessity for a stimulus package but they are questioning this Government's ability to deliver on that package. This package is supposed to include schools, public housing and other infrastructure projects.

      Government speakers talked about this Government's record infrastructure spend, which is an absolute farce. We have only to look at the wonderful Action for Transport document that was published in 1998 to see how poorly this Government has performed in the provision of infrastructure. In fact, infrastructure and this Government go together like water and oil. Opposition members understand the need for economic stimulus but this Government must be the only government in the Western world to have increased taxes in the mini-budget while decreasing infrastructure spending. It imposed $3.3 billion in additional taxes while scrapping just about every major infrastructure project. I might add that that included the North West Rail Link, which would have serviced my electorate.

      One of the projects promised in the 1998 Action for Transport Plan, which was then modified, amended and extended, eventually ended up becoming the $12 billion North West Metro from St James to Rouse Hill. I do not think any right-thinking person in our area ever really expected the Government to build that railway line, but we all thought that the original $600 million heavy rail line from Epping to Castle Hill was a goer. We thought ultimately that the Government would be able to find that sort of money. That was before the disaster of the Parramatta to Epping link when we ended up with half the line at twice the price.

      The Parramatta to Epping line was scrapped. With the last redistribution I inherited the Carlingford railway station, on the Carlingford line, which was supposed to have been a substantial station on the Parramatta to Epping line. We did not get the continuation of Epping to Chatswood and through to Parramatta. In 2005 this Government scrapped the vast majority of services on that line and downgraded it to one direct service to the city a day with no services in return. To add insult to injury, in the mini-budget the Government also scrapped the Rydalmere passing loop on the Carlingford line, which would have provided an opportunity for increasing those rail services to a level commensurate with a realistic service rather than a Clayton's service. As compensation the Government gave us 100 buses that were already in the pipeline.

      Talking about jobs, one of the biggest employment centres in New South Wales is the North West Business Park at Bella Vista. At the moment there are 25,000 jobs at that park, with 15,000 to come. We were supposed to have had a station on that North West Metro line—or the North West Rail Link, whichever members prefer—but that has not happened and it put that area at a significant disadvantage. Unquestionably, it will cost jobs. I am sure members can see why my constituents are disillusioned with everything that this Government introduces and everything which it proposes. We must build a dedicated rail line to the north-west and complete the Parramatta to Epping line. The Government's solution is to build a rail line out to Rozelle. As the member for Baulkham Hills remarked, Rozelle is not Rouse Hill: the Government has its geography wrong. I think that this bill, which will provide nothing in the way of infrastructure and jobs for my electorate, is a farce.

      Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY (Heffron—Minister for Planning, and Minister for Redfern Waterloo) [6.45 p.m.], in reply: I thank members for their contributions to debate on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Bill 2009. This bill is critical to ensure the rapid delivery of infrastructure projects funded by the Commonwealth under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan to help reduce the impact of the global financial crisis. It is necessary to respond to some of the matters that were raised in debate. I thank the members for Monaro, Miranda, Penrith, Wyong, Maitland and Menai for their contributions to and their support for the bill.

      The member for Wyong referred earlier to the Olympics. This bill is similar to the bill that was passed for the Olympics. We have tight timeframes and we have an imperative to deliver. The planning powers available in this bill to the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General are not dissimilar to the powers that were given during the Olympics and during World Youth Day. When the New South Wales Government delivered the Olympics and World Youth Day on time and on budget, both those projects were considered to be the best examples of that event anywhere on earth.

      The member for Penrith spoke about the role of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General, for which I thank her. Many contributions, in particular, those from Opposition members, were limited strictly to planning matters, but the member for Penrith reminded us all about the role of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. She said that the bill was not just about planning; it dealt also with the delivery, in particular, of the provisions in part 4. I thank her for outlining the relationship that the co-ordinator general will have with agencies. The member for Wakehurst spoke for more than half an hour but barely referred to the bill. While I respect the member for Wakehurst, his flip-flop approach to planning was evident. He said simultaneously that the planning system was broke and was not working, and that it was too efficient and I was approving too many projects.
      Since September there have been 64 part 3 (a) project approvals, 20,000 jobs have been created and there has been $9 billion worth of investment. Government members will continue to support projects that create investment and jobs in New South Wales. I do not know whether or not the member for Wakehurst understands exactly what this legislation covers. It covers projects such as public housing proposals, local school halls and school libraries. If they were constructed under the usual planning processes almost certainly they would all go to local councils. This is not the type of planning approval to which part 3 (a) would apply. In the next 21 months we will be asking local councils to get 6,000 public housing dwellings and $5 billion worth of projects at local, public and private schools approved.

      This gargantuan task is designed to deliver a stimulus package. A stimulus package works only if the money gets out the door quickly and starts stimulating jobs and the economy, which is what this proposal is about. In my briefings with local government and industry stakeholders I established that they had an understanding of the challenges that we face and they resolved to work with us to ensure that those projects would go out the door. The Opposition shadow spokesperson and member for Wakehurst said that the planning system needed to be overhauled and improved. Where is his policy and when or where will he produce such a policy?

      In the six months since I have been the Minister for Planning the housing code has been gazetted and is operational; the Planning Assessment Commission, which has a clear delegation to depoliticise decision making has commenced operation; infrastructure charges and levies have been reduced significantly, in particular, in the growth centres; we have seen the integration of the Growth Centres Commission into the Department of Planning; funding has been made available for new project delivery coordinators; the Barangaroo Delivery Authority has been created and the board and a new chief executive officer have been appointed; and we have seen significant changes to the infrastructure State environmental planning policy.

      When the Opposition puts up its policy we will be able to judge it on its merits. If the Opposition thinks our policy needs to be overhauled it should bring forward its policy. The member for Wakehurst also asked questions about transparency. I suggest he get online: he can look at the COAG website about the national partnership agreement. It provides information about the agreement itself, the rules under which it operates and the transparency and oversight provisions. Finally, the member for Wakehurst referred to an alleged loss of $48 million in the AusLink negotiations. I remind the House what the Premier stated earlier today. He said that AusLink negotiations are always robust. These were no different.

      Instead of money for maintenance this year, the Federal Government has offered New South Wales $48 million for Pacific Highway funding in the next financial year. The people of New South Wales are not missing out on a single cent. The money will still come to New South Wales and still be spent on vital road projects. While the speech of the member for Hawkesbury was interesting, it did not make one reference to the bill except its title. The member clearly failed to understand that the bill only covered projects funded by the Commonwealth stimulus package. He spoke extensively about projects not funded under the bill—and the member for Wakehurst later took points of order on that point. The member for Hawkesbury spoke about the Riverstone rezoning issue. The member for Hawkesbury should understand that—

      Mr John Aquilina: He is not the member for Riverstone.

      Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY: First, he is not the member for Riverstone. He was all across this issue, but existing land use rights will still apply even if we change the zoning. I ask whether the member made a submission when that zoning proposal was on exhibition. I remind him that we are still taking submissions on that zoning proposal. He still has time, if he wants to do more than just rant and rave in this place, to make his views known. I could go into the content of an interview I had today on radio, but I will not. I just point out that I do not believe the Opposition understands this proposal or understands the rights that existing landowners have.

      The member for Hawkesbury also talked about Windsor Road—again not demonstrating a significant understanding of how things get done. He said that Windsor Road was paid for by developer contributions. I am advised by the Roads and Traffic Authority that Windsor Road cost $524 million. I am also advised by the authority that developer contributions raised around $3 million every year for 10 years. The Roads and Traffic Authority advises me that the State Government paid for the rest—more than $490 million. I ask the member to be clear about what is happening in his electorate before he speaks in here. I am certain has not read the bill.

      The member for Manly not only spoke to the bill; it was obvious he had read it. His remarks were revealing. He referred to the bill as cutting red tape. So he would get rid of threatened species legislation and heritage considerations. He considers environmental impact statements to be red tape. He said that ultimately we will talk about the Coalition's policy. We are waiting for that moment. He tells us ultimately it will come.

      Mr Chris Hartcher: Hold your breath.

      Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY: I do not intend to turn blue by holding my breath waiting for Opposition policy. The member for Manly asked why we do not apply this legislation to all infrastructure projects. That is the most revealing comment in this debate tonight. The Opposition has said it will abolish part 3A and tonight we have had a glimpse into what it would replace it with. It would replace it with a system such as this—a planning system that has been designed to meet significant time frames and extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. The Opposition will apply it carte blanche across the State. So, gone will be threatened species considerations, heritage considerations, community consultation, coastal protection and consideration for bushfire protection. That is what the member for Manly raised tonight, that that would be the Opposition's planning policy for all infrastructure projects.

      Mr Thomas George: Isn't that what this bill is doing?

      Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY: The member for Manly might want to talk to his colleagues the member for Ballina and the member for Pittwater, who raised concerns that that is precisely what this bill did. It was a completely confused approach from the Opposition. Members opposite cannot decide whether they are too concerned that the community and certain environmental protections are being cut out of the process or whether they think it should be done for every infrastructure project. It is a broad church over there and ultimately, one day, we may get some planning policy out of the Opposition. The member for Lismore asked, "Isn't that what the bill does?" Yes, but it does it in a limited way, to the projects funded by the stimulus package so we meet the timeframe set by the Council of Australian Governments [COAG]—as with the Olympics and World Youth Day. It is extraordinary legislation to meet the extraordinary demands of the times we live in.

      The member for Manly raised a concern, as did the members for Pittwater, Coffs Harbour and Bega, about developer contributions. The bill allows the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to charge infrastructure contributions. Members opposite raised concerns about whether this constituted a windfall for the State Government. We should be clear that the charging of developer contributions arises when the development demands new infrastructure to support it—for example, a Department of Housing proposal that would increase the density to such a level that new infrastructure was required around the development. That is why a developer contribution would be charged and what it would fund. It would fund local infrastructure for local communities, often administered by local councils. This is not some windfall for the Government. This is supporting the structure the development gives rise to. It is supporting and funding local communities.

      The member for Pittwater, Dr Stokes—I sometimes think of him as the shadow shadow planning Minister—has clearly read the bill. I suspect he has read the COAG communiqué. Maybe he can show his colleagues where the website is. He argued that this was filling in the cracks. With due respect, I think the member the Pittwater is smarter than that. He argued that local communities have the right to be heard. We fundamentally agree with that. That is why we see more than 14,000 submissions each year to our part 3A proposals. The member for Manly is proposing to create this as a system for all infrastructure projects.

      Mr Thomas George: He didn't say that.

      Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY: He did suggest that. Some technical issues were raised by the member for Pittwater about modification. Yes, modification is covered by the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General. However, once the project is built there are provisions in the Act for it to be put back under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and future modifications, once this bill is no longer relevant, will be dealt with under that Act. The member raised the issue of appeals and the acquisition of land, whether people have the right to appeal a land evaluation. Yes, they do, because that is still being done under the provisions of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act. This just allows the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General to exercise that function.

      The member also raised the enforcement provisions. If the project does not comply with the conditions of authorisation under the order, the Infrastructure Co-ordinator General can order that the project be exempt from this legislation and then it would have to go through the usual planning processes. I note that the members for Ballina, Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour and Bega all made contributions. I believe I have covered the points they have raised in answering the points made by other members. I thank all members for their contributions and I commend the bill to the House.

      Question—That this bill be now agreed to in principle—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.

      Bill agreed to in principle.

      Passing of the Bill

          Bill declared past and transmitted to the Legislative Council seeking its concurrence in the bill.
      ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Matthew Morris): Order! It being almost 7.00 p.m., the House will now proceed to the matter of public importance.