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New South Wale’s new government has the expertise to handle the challenges in the state’s minerals sector, according to the leading industry body.
Nikki Williams, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council said she supports the Coalition’s priorities for the industry, which include introducing strategic land use planning, investment in infrastructure in mining regions and introducing new OH & S laws as part of the national harmonisation process.
“Business needs certainty to be able to help make NSW number one again,” Williams said.
“This is a positive reform agenda that will encourage investment, help to grow our economy and make our communities more attractive places to live.
She said the O’Farrell government has a difficult task on its hands, but believes it is up to the challenge.
“The business of Government is much harder than the business of Opposition.
“But the people of NSW have put their trust in the Coalition and we believe that this team is well equipped to deliver on their promises.
“Now is the time for the new Government to work with all of its stakeholders and the community to develop the detail and to ensure it gets the implementation of its policies right.
Williams said continuity in government is a key issue for success and hopes for less changes to the leadership and portfolios under the Liberal government.
“Under the last government we saw six ministerial changes in five years in the minerals portfolio alone.
“That sort of instability made it impossible to have stable, progressive governance.
“The new Cabinet has a good mix of youth and experience, it is energetic and most importantly it has been listening to business and the community so it can hit the ground running.
“We trust there will be a smooth transition.”
Williams also praised Duncan Gay for his work as the Shadow Minister for Primary Industries.
“Duncan has been a strong advocate of the need for greater certainty for business and the need to minimise tensions between industries in regional NSW,” she said.
Williams said Gay’s biggest achievement in his position was the development of the Coalition’s Regional Strategic Land Use Planning policy and believe he will be similarly successful in his new role as Minister for Roads and Ports.
“We look forward to working with the new Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher,” Williams said.
“He is a senior member of the new Cabinet and has a strong understanding of the challenges ahead for the minerals sector through a previous role as Shadow Minister for Planning.
“The Coalition’s plan to repeal Part 3A and rebuild the planning system from the ground up will be a mammoth task and require coordination across Government to ensure that NSW keeps moving forward.
“We are confident that Brad Hazzard, having had the planning portfolio for some time, will be able to tackle this task with vigour.”
Williams has praised the establishment of the Trade and Investment and Regional Infrastructure and Services portfolios as a positive step forward for New South Wales.
“For too long, regional NSW has been left behind or completely left out in the interests of other parts of the State,” she said.
Williams added that the Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, is well placed to deal with issues such as best practice dust management, as the State MP for Maitland.