March 6, 2020 / 1:19 AM / in a month

Australia considers sale of remaining stake in Sydney toll-road project

SYDNEY, March 6 (Reuters) - Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), is considering selling its remaining stake in Sydney’s WestConnex toll-road project to fund new infrastructure, state Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said on Friday.

The state will seek to appoint advisers to conduct a study into whether to keep the project stake or sell it and use the proceeds to pay for new infrastructure, Perrottet said in a statement. The report of the advisers is expected in the second half of 2020, he said.

NSW sold 51% of the Sydney Motorway Corporation, the company building the 33 kilometer (20.51 miles) tollway running through Sydney’s fast-growing western suburbs, in 2018 for A$9.3 billion to a consortium led by Transurban Group.

“Our priority is providing the schools, hospitals, roads and rail NSW needs,” Perrottet said.

“The government’s asset recycling strategy has enabled us to do that and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process,” he said.

The announcement follows NSW’s decision in February to cancel the privatisation of the state’s softwood plantation business after bushfires in the state burned about 25% of the unit slated for sale. (Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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