The role of Governments, in spending on infrastructure to stimulate the economy, is critical when private investment slows and economic growth is constrained. With relatively low growth for the past year and a housing market still in recovery mode, now is the time for the Council & State Government to activate an array of infrastructure projects, that have been in the planning pipeline for long periods.
The largest of these is the Ocean Drive duplication which received $50m funding from State at the March State election and by all reports is now fully designed. The General Manager of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has recently written to the State Government requesting that RMS deliver the project. It is now incumbent upon those responsible to agree on a delivery mechanism without delay and let tenders for construction get underway, as soon as possible.
The much needed upgrade to Boundary Street, to provide a satisfactory access to the newly upgraded airport terminal, has been a topic of discussion between Chamber and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council for the past two years. Whilst the contentious Orbital Road has caused a major distraction and delayed the Boundary Street Upgrade, the recent Notice of Motion to borrow funds for this project is a welcome step forward by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. With sufficient financial resources at its disposal, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council can and should now proceed with a full detailed design of Boundary Street. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council appears to have multiple options available to fund this project and it must expedite all necessary planning and design with the ultimate goal of delivery in the next financial year.
Lake Road remains a morning peak hour car park and should also be a State and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council priority project. Part of this road reserve is located over National Parks Land, it is likely that Ministerial intervention will be required to break through bureaucratic obfuscation and delays. Chamber encourages our Council and State Member to work towards a sensible outcome to enable this project to proceed. The final dual lane alignment is dictated by existing connections and physical constraints, so the identification of additional land acquisition, or boundary adjustments and concept design, can proceed without the need for protracted investigations.
The allocation of State Government funding and significant developer contributions in recent years has put Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in a very sound financial position to undertake these major works. Such large sums of public monies must be expended on critical infrastructure to enable the private sector to grow and operate businesses efficiently. An added benefit is that when major projects are undertaken, it creates employment and investment stimulus for the companies and their suppliers, engaged to complete the work.
The above-mentioned, significant and much needed infrastructure projects, if undertaken, in the short term would generate investment opportunities and boost local industry. Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce is looking to Council and State Government representatives and officers to move ahead quickly with these local projects and, in doing so, provide a stimulus to business and industry.