May 19, 2014
Source: Daily Telegraph
Author: John Lehman
FAST-RISING Baird government minister Stuart Ayres reckons voters are not really in love with power poles.
“Do you really want to go up to the power pole outside your home, wrap your arms around it and say I love owning you?’’ he told a Committee for Sydney meeting in Parramatta.
Mr Ayres believes Sydneysiders might be more enamoured with better roads, rail services, sports venues and cultural facilities.
Of course, many of these goodies can only be funded if Premier Mike Baird wins support at the 2015 election to sell the state’s electricity assets. That will be the central battleground of the election, with Labor glued to its ideological opposition to such a sale.
The key to the Baird government’s success will be deciding in the months ahead how the proceeds from such a sale — expected to be about $30 billion — will be invested and then exciting voters in those plans.
Expect much jockeying from various interest groups — including the major sports codes and venues — to get on the Premier’s shopping list.
It is time to invest in major stadiums. We are a sporting town but venues like Allianz have been neglected.
Previous governments spent $280 million in eight years patching up suburban grounds, rather than major stadiums like Melbourne and Brisbane have done.
At least Mr Ayres is on the right track, saying recently his focus will be on improving the SCG Trust venues and Homebush’s ANZ Stadium.
Read the full article online here.