NSW premier lobbies PM on funding changes

The NSW premier is pushing the prime minister for a greater say on which projects federal government money should be spent on, arguing the state knows best.

Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday said she’d had “constructive” talks with Scott Morrison about the need for NSW to make its own decisions on where it directs infrastructure funding.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW is investing $93 billion over four years on roads, rail and other projects to address the challenges facing the state – more than the federal government or any other state “by far”.

“Where the federal government does have opportunity to give us funding for infrastructure as it does to all the states, we’re simply asking ‘let NSW decide what the priorities are’ because we know exactly where we need to invest the money,” she told 2GB.

Her call comes after Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe called on the federal government to spend more on infrastructure after cutting official interest rates to a record low of one per cent on Tuesday.

Seizing on Dr Lowe’s comments, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet wants the federal government to provide more “equitable funding” for the state “to support transport projects of national importance such as Sydney Metro West”.

“The recent NSW budget showed our state is forecast to receive less than half of Queensland’s average per-capita allocation of Commonwealth infrastructure funding over the four years from 2018/19,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Given the influence our great state has on the national economy, that makes no sense.”

Dr Lowe on Tuesday said infrastructure spending added demand in the economy and could add to the country’s productive capacity if the right projects were selected.

“It is appropriate to be thinking about further investments in this area, especially with interest rates at a record low, the economy having spare capacity and some of our existing infrastructure struggling to cope with ongoing population growth,” he said.

The NSW government in June announced a review into federal financial relations, which the treasurer described as a mess.

AAP

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