Recently, I was on site to see construction begin on the $2.5 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour, a project which will create thousands of jobs for the people of Sydney.
Work has begun on Sydney’s new world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct, which will be known as the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney. This is a $1 billion project as part of the overall Darling Harbour facelift that we have set a target to be delivered by the end of 2016.
We have outlined an intensive construction schedule to get the job done, so anyone passing the site can expect to see a buzz of activity with excavators and bulldozers and up to 12 cranes dotting the city skyline as work swings into full gear.
The major transformation will see more than 1,200 workers on site at the peak of construction, as well as at least 50 apprentices providing an attractive opportunity for people undergoing vocational training.
We’re always looking to maximise job opportunities and, in total, the redevelopment of Darling Harbour is expected to see 3,700 jobs during the build, and importantly, a further 4,000 jobs once completed.
Darling Harbour shot to fame during the Sydney Olympics when the precinct hosted five sports. However, its history dates back to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 when European settlers named it Cockle Bay.
To respect the area’s history we have dedicated a time capsule full of mementos, video, imagery and information about the area, and have buried it at the site.
The $2.5 billion Darling Harbour redevelopment will ensure Sydney has another state-of-the-art major event and exhibition venue. In the meantime, the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island is serving as our premier venue for these activities to ensure our city remains open for business over the next two years.
Finally, Darling Harbour will be a place for the people of Sydney to live in and enjoy. We’re building a new city neighbourhood as well as new open public spaces, which will see the return of a water feature at the precinct. We’ll also improve pedestrian connections through the area to make this much-loved part of Sydney more accessible to everyone.
On another issue, I am determined to restore public trust in NSW politics and have promised to take whatever action is needed to increase transparency and accountability in our political system.
In keeping with my promise, I have announced an independent expert panel to look at NSW election funding laws and consider long-term options that would reform political donations. I have asked the panel to consider the feasibility of full public funding of state election campaigns, and report back to the NSW Government by the end of the year.
The panel will be led by respected businesswoman and public servant, Kerry Schott, who will be supported by by former Labor Deputy Premier, John Watkins, and former Liberal Shadow Attorney General, Andrew Tink.
I’m confident the panel will come up with options that will put us in a strong position to deliver lasting reforms that will restore public trust in our political system.
Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Newspaper in Sydney)