Infrastructure & Economic Governance

[L to R] Dr. Rajiv Lall, The Hon. Michael Baird, and James Crabtree in Mumbai on January 13, 2015. (Asia Society India Centre)

MUMBAI, 13 January, 2015 — The Asia Society India Centre in partnership with the Australian Consulate General Mumbai welcomed The Hon. Michael Baird, Premier of New South Wales for a conversation with Dr. Rajiv Lall, Executive Chairman of IDFC, followed by commentary by James Crabtree, Mumbai Correspondent for the Financial Times. The engaging discussion explored the themes of infrastructure, governance, the economic relationship between Australia and India, and what best practices can be gained from the Australian experience.

The evening began with an introduction by Australian Consul General Mark Pierce, introducing Premier Baird, which included his fondness for cricket, and enlightened the audience with a fun fact that the Premier hit a ball out of The Cricket Club of India stadium prior to coming to the programme! Following the introduction, Premier Baird spoke about how New South Wales (NSW) now leads Australia with the strongest economic growth, the second lowest employment rate, the strongest retail sector, and the highest number of new housing approvals. On housing he proposed to make it more affordable by creating enough supply to overtake demand. A pipeline of housing approvals has built up that will boost supply, increase housing affordability, create jobs, and maintain sustainable strong job growth.

An interesting question brought forward by Dr. Lall was: given Australia’s experience in public-private partnership, at what stage should the private sector get involved in infrastructure development? Premier Baird answered with the simple response that a country needs to assess the opportunity and risks, and ensure that people in the government have the skills to orchestrate the logistics and processes between the public and private sector. New South Wales’ India Strategy- recently launched - will help New South Wales and India capitalize on opportunities arising from India’s size and economic growth potential. Ending the conversation on a positive note with regard to India-Australia bilateral relations Premier Baird said, “We are excited to see opportunity and growth with India in the near future.”

Video: Watch the complete programme (1 hr. 28 min.)

Reported by Maneka Chotirmall, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre

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