NSW Premier unveils six step COVID-19 recovery plan

New South Wales has done well in handling the COVID health and economic response, according to Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian.

Speaking at an in-person CEDA event, the first since the COVID pandemic began, Ms Berejiklian unveiled the Government’s six step COVID-19 recovery plan, keeping the economy moving while managing the health and safety of citizens.

“The health and safety of our citizens is always paramount but also what is paramount to us is making sure we keep people employed,” she said.

“The COVID recovery plan focuses on six key areas.

"Firstly our infrastructure pipeline which is a key driver of jobs and a demonstrated area of leadership.

“Secondly our planning and precincts, really important for us to not only accelerate our planning processes but also develop those key precincts.

“Third, our education and skills, managing and ensuring we have the jobs of the future.

“Fourth, digitisation both in improving what we offer our citizens but also improving the way we do things as a government.

“Fifthly, advanced manufacturing and local supply chains.

“The pandemic has opened our eyes in New South Wales of what we're capable of in terms of local supply chains.

“Finally, Federal-State relations.”

Ms Berejiklian said that the state will invest $100 billion in infrastructure projects over the next four years, double the next nearest state and resulting in the creation of 88,000 direct jobs.

“It's pretty much the amount of money that the Commonwealth would spend over a decade compared to what we're spending over just four years,” she said.

“Some projects have been accelerated because when you have less people moving around it actually makes it easier to build things.”

Ms Berejiklian said that planning will also be key, with the NSW Minister for Planning the Hon. Robert Stokes, accelerating the approval of 49 key projects across the state worth $13.5 billion and cutting approval times.

“We are today announcing that rezoning proposals will be cut by 191 days. That's still a long time but it's 33 per cent less than what you normally spend, so that in itself is quite significant,” she said.

“Development Approvals for large regional projects, and we're talking about big projects in the regions, we're cutting by 91 days on average and that's a reduction of 25 per cent of wait times and also projects of state significance we're trying to reduce by at least three weeks which is a 17 per cent reduction in wait time.

“We're introducing these reforms and cutting red tape to really accelerate our ability to build more and deliver more but also encourage private investment.

“Digitisation is a clear stream through all the activities we're doing, it's improving the way we deal with our citizens.

“We've been able to get out information and provide financial support to business and community organisations efficiently, to customers, through Service New South Wales which is our front office.

“We're also investing a record amount in cyber security to make sure that we have the best systems available because the more data you collect, the more you rely on digitisation, you've got to make sure those services and those systems are as safe as possible.

“The future in advanced manufacturing and local supply chains is also very exciting in New South Wales.

“When we did a call out to business to say come and help us during the pandemic, who can re-tool and reskill and change the way they do things? Nearly 2000 businesses came forward, many of them have retooled and re-skilled and our eyes have been opened to the capacity that's available.

“In Western Sydney, the new aerotropolis as part of our three cities strategy is fast becoming the advanced manufacturing capital of the nation.

“CSIRO will be moving up to 450 of its employees, out to this new airport city which works really well with those European, Japanese and North American companies who are already setting up shop there.

“There will be some very recognisable local and international brands and that precinct itself will be Australia's gateway to advanced manufacturing and that is a very exciting proposition.

“As the sixth part to our recovery, it’s reliant on improving Federal-State relations both in terms of economics but also in terms of how we deal with each other and I think the National Cabinet process has contributed to that.

“What the pandemic has taught us as governments, as leaders, is that we can be flexible and nimble and capable of making decisions, which can be implemented in a very short amount of time.

“I think there's much we can do further on this front, but this is a clear plank of our road to recovery.

“The strategy I’ve outlined today is all about keeping jobs and creating those jobs in industries where we can.

 “There'll be a net deficit, all the economists have told us the economy will be contracting and we hope the contraction in New South Wales won't be as severe as other places, but we know there'll be a deficit of jobs.

 “What we need to do is really encourage and stimulate business continuing in those sectors that can keep going.”