PREMIER Mike Baird officially opened an Albion Park Rail business and awarded the Foxground/Berry Bypass contract during a fleeting visit to the region.
Mr Baird visited the Kiama electorate on Wednesday attending a ribbon cutting ceremony at indoor go-karting business C1 Speed in Albion Park Rail before heading south to inspect the Princes Highway upgrade at Gerringong.
In Gerringong he inspected the bypass work and awarded a $580million contract for the Foxground/Berry Bypass to Fulton Hogan.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Baird said businesses such as C1 Speed form an important part in communities such as Shellharbour.
‘‘It makes this community proud, but also incredibly lucky, youth unemployment is a big challenge across not only this state but across the country and facilities like this help.
‘‘Sixty jobs coming into this community here in Shellharbour is amazing.
‘‘I have met some of the young I know they’re very excited, they’re proud to work here and provide a fantastic opportunity and fun for members of the community.’’
Kiama MP Gareth Ward echoed Mr Baird’s sentiments and said the new business was an important investment for the region.
‘‘This facility for those that aren’t aware cost around $4.5 million,’’ he said.
‘‘I know for some of those young people (C1 Speed employees) this is the first time they’ve had a job.’’
Despite finding time top take a go-kart for a spin, Mr Baird did not have time to discuss the government’s proposal to privatise much of the state’s electricity poles and wires.
‘‘The proposal, which the Baird government will take to the March state election, would see 49 per cent of poles and wires in the state be privatised under a 99 year lease.
The government expects the deal would deliver a $20 billion windfall, but faces opposition in the parliament with it likely to be opposed by Labor and the Greens.
‘‘Privatisation is a one-way trip to a poorer state,’’ Greens MP John Kaye said.
‘‘Once the assets have been sold, the income will disappear and the opportunity to fund new infrastructure from the profits of owning the wires and poles will be lost forever.’’
NSW Opposition leader John Roberston said the plan would lead to higher electricity prices for the people of NSW.
“Mike Baird has simply put forward an infrastructure mirage that will come at the cost of every family across NSW through their electricity bills.
“What we do know is that privatisation has driven up electricity prices in South Australia and Victoria.
“No private company will spend billions of dollars buying the electricity network and then give families a reduction on their electricity bills. Any private company will make NSW families pay for their profits.”
More from the Premier's visit to come