Former army chief lieutenant general Ken Gillespie has been appointed as NSW’s regional infrastructure coordinator, a position tasked with accelerating infrastructure roll-out across the state’s regions.

“We’re delighted that Lieutenant General Gillespie has agreed to work with the Government to identify and overcome any roadblocks to the roll-out of our local infrastructure program,” NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Deputy premier and minister for regional NSW John Barilaro said the government had committed record funds to regional infrastructure.

“This important appointment underscores our commitment to the regions and delivering on our promises,” he said.

“This is an exciting time for the people of regional NSW. Lieutenant general Gillespie’s appointment will ensure that every dollar committed will be spent and each infrastructure project undertaken, however big or small, will be completed as soon as possible.”

The news was welcomed by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia’s NSW division.

“Regional Infrastructure is critical to the growth, economic and social development of residents right across NSW and IPWEA NSW, as the leading organisation of public works professionals, looks forward to working closely with this important new coordinator in the future,” its president Warren Sharpe said.

Others, however, have not been so welcoming, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that many MPs were concerned by so-called “celebrity appointments”.

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