Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon says the setting up of an Infrastructure Commission is the game changer that was needed.
Speaking after the publication of the NI Executive Building Forward Consolidated Covid-19 Recovery Plan, which commits to the establishment of an Infrastructure Commission in Northern Ireland, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Last year, in looking at how we could do things differently and much better, I asked an independent group of experts, chaired by Kirsty McManus from the Institute of Directors, to explore the value of an Infrastructure Commission in effectively securing a long term approach to wider infrastructure planning and delivery, and to help drive our post Covid recovery, our response to Brexit and enable us to ambitiously tackle the climate crisis.
"This Ministerial Advisory Panel produced an indepth, expert report based on global best practice and extensive local consultation. Their clear recommendation was that the establishment of an Infrastructure Commission is crucial in empowering us to deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable and inclusive growth.
“The benefits put forward by the Ministerial Advisory Panel are clear, and since the publication of this report, I have been working to make the case to Ministerial colleagues of the need for, and significant advantages to be gained from an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland. In the context of the challenges of Covid, Brexit, climate change and economic strain, investing and long-term planning for critical infrastructure has never been more important and I am delighted that my proposal is a key commitment in the Executive’s Covid recovery action plan.
“As we emerge from the pain of this pandemic, we cannot and must not simply go back to doing everything exactly as we did before. Now, more than ever, we must seize our chance for change. We have a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life for our citizens, to protect and enhance our environment, tackle regional imbalance and to reset our economy.
"I firmly believe that an Infrastructure Commission is the game changer we need and I am delighted that this belief is now shared by the wider Executive. Work must now urgently begin across government to get this commission established quickly and deliver the change our citizens need and deserve.”