Summary of NSW Government Response to the NSW Jobs Summit

On February 26-27, the NSW Government held a meeting of 300 business and community leaders in Sydney called the NSW Jobs Summit.

The purpose of the summit was for the NSW Government to hear first-hand the challenges posed by the global financial crisis and to develop new policies aimed at ameliorating the economic downturn.

On 6 April the NSW Government posted a formal response to the summit, announcing a host of spending commitments and proposed changes to governance arrangements in NSW.  Many of these announcements are important to understand in the context of the Government’s priority to ensure State and Commonwealth funds are effectively spent within the due timelines.

The spending commitments listed below are the first detailed announcements of how and where the proposed $56.9 billion in infrastructure spending will go in the next four years.

The NSW Department of State and Regional Development will be the bureaucracy principally responsible for delivering on the agreed outcomes of the NSW Jobs Summit.

For the full NSW Government 40 page detailed response please click here.

Overview of key commitments from the NSW Jobs Summit

  • $56.9 billion investment in infrastructure over the next four years aimed at supporting 150,000 jobs every year.
  • $20 million for skills development and training initiatives in green jobs.
  • Additional $6 billion will be spent in NSW in the housing and education sectors in the next two years. This will result in 6,000 new social housing dwellings
  • 4,000 new government apprenticeships and 2,000 cadetships over four years.
  • Urgent legislation and changes to planning policies to ensure the fastest possible delivery of the Federal Government’s stimulus package priority projects.
  • Changes to plans for the $1.3 billion Carlton United Breweries site which has the potential to create 5,500 ongoing jobs and 1,200 construction jobs
  • Additional commercial floor space for the Barangaroo precinct and a new ferry hub to provide transport to the more than 22,000 people who will live and work there.
  • Tourism NSW will invest $3.9 million in thirteen regional campaigns commencing in March 2009 to promote regional destinations.
  • New incentive packages for the screen industries, determined on a case by case basis
  • Additional funding to Industry Capability Network (ICN) to provide comprehensive business matching services to deliver local sourcing of projects and services that might have otherwise been imported.
  • Research Partnership Program to win Commonwealth research centres. The Science Leveraging Fund worth 40 million over four years may be available.
  • Finalise the MoU with industry to enable, through provision of land, the construction of new coal loaders which may double coal exports from the Hunter Valley.
  • Build a CBD Metro.
  • $235 million to encourage bus usage.

$70 million Major Investment Attraction Fund

  • This is to attract large projects that would not otherwise come to NSW. The incentive fund is for large footloose projects, providing assistance packages with a total value of at least $2 million per project, for periods between 3-5 years.
  • The Government has appointed Defence Industry Advisor – John Blackburn AO to identify opportunities and promote NSW capabilities at a national and international level to assist in winning major defence projects for NSW.

Supporting struggling communities in regional NSW

  • $85m Building Country Package announced in November 2008. This involves upgrade and development of local business infrastructure, investment in water-saving technologies, support economic development in small communities, broadband services and country libraries.

Future Commitments

  • Commitment to reduce red tape by $500 million by June 2011.
  • Commitment to create new employment zone in Western Sydney announced at the end of May.
  • Commitment over the next three months to consider the establishment of a Building NSW fund to resolve current infrastructure roadblocks.
  • Commitment to extend the NSW Government’s sponsorship of CeBIT for three years to 2011 to secure the largest business technology event in the Sydney region.
  • Over the next three months the Government will work with industry to review whether transport costs should be allowable deductions for calculating the value of coal under the Coal Royalty Regime.
  • Commitment to streamline heavy vehicle regulations through harmonisation of fatigue management and load weight regulation.
  • Implementing targets for state-wide mandatory energy efficiency for electricity retailers, commencing 1 July 2009.
  • Commitment to develop initiatives to make Sydney the carbon trading hub of the Asia Pacific (the Sydney Carbon Market taskforce, made up of representatives from government and industry, will report in May).

Key Reforms to Planning

  • Introduction of a suite of regional strategies in high growth areas.
  • Introduction of the Planning Assessment Commission.
  • Exempt and complying codes for residential development that delivers an approval outcome within 10 days.
  • Introduction of Joint Regional Planning Panels (JRPPs) to provide an alternative determining authority to local councils for a range of developments.
  • Significant changes to the rezoning process to introduce early gateways and decisions which will significantly streamline, simplify and speed up decisions
  • Removal of stop-the-clock and introducing deemed to comply provisions for concurrencies where timetables are not met.
  • Nation Building and Jobs(infrastructure) Bill 2009 will ensure deadlines are met by establishing Infrastructure Coordinator General

Establishment of Planning and Approvals Chief Executive Group who will:

  • Ensure whole of government position for timely determination of major development projects.
  • Streamlining determination of major projects.
  • Monitor performance and ensure adherence with agreed benchmarks.
  • Improve regulatory approvals and practices.

Establishment of a Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group

  • Advisory group will bring together industry, unions and government to identify ways to overcome skills and training challenges facing the transport sector.

Project Delivery Managers
Teams of Project Delivery Managers will be the single point of contact for proponents for all development approval matters.  These managers will coordinate referrals and concurrences with relevant government agencies and will ensure project deadline are met:
Their key performance indicators are:

  • Ensure 85% of major project approvals to be finalised within three months, 95% to be finalised in five months, and no project assessment to exceed eight months.
  • Major Local Environmental Plans (LEP) (land release or urban renewal) gazetted within 6-12 months and minor LEPs within 3 months.
  • Project delivery managers will commence work on 14 April 2009.

Other Important Changes to Governance Arrangements in NSW

  • Temporary Payroll Tax Incentives
  • Simplifying and improving procurement policies
  • Minor amendments to be considered for the petroleum (Onshore) Act in 2009.