Search for boss for new entity

Rene Hidding

Rene Hidding

THE state government is on the hunt for a boss to head its new infrastructure body.

As a state election promise, Infrastructure Tasmania will replace the Tasmanian Infrastructure Advisory Council.

The position of chief executive will be advertised nationally, as the government takes the first steps to roll out the $3.2 million infrastructure review program.

Former chairman of the advisory council, Phil Clark, has ruled out applying for the position.

 Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said the body would ‘‘take the politics out of infrastructure’’ and ensure a long-term and coordinated approach was undertaken by all levels of government.

‘‘This role will be key to ensuring strategic investment in infrastructure, efficient transport and an effective freight network, which will create jobs, boost productivity and encourage economic development,’’ Mr Hidding said.

The body will also be charged with overseeing the $400 million Midland Highway upgrade and auditing the state’s roads.

‘‘It will be tasked with developing a statewide freight strategy and will also identify infrastructure projects and programs to be prioritised by government, delivering regular progress reports to ensure economic growth, stimulate development and create jobs,’’ Mr Hidding said.

Two staff members will work under the chief executive and will report directly to cabinet through Treasury and the Department of State Growth.

The body will not include heads of government departments, who sat on the advisory council, and the state government said that makes it independent.

Opposition infrastructure spokesman Craig Farrell said the body was a duplication of the existing advisory council. 

‘‘It is surprising that the government is so keen to re-announce what is effectively a broken promise to reduce boards and committees,’’ Mr Farrell said.

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