Prime Minister Robert Abela said that while the environment would be a priority, he would run a pro-market Government and believes that the construction industry should not only be suppressed because it was beneficial for the country.
“The work creates a lot of wealth, a lot of income for many people: a surplus for tile layers, for electricians, plumbers etc. People want quality of life. Let’s call a spade a spade – people want cash in their pockets. If we start holding back on projects that means less work for less people which means fewer opportunities for them. Let’s go for intelligent development which does not ruin the country, but let’s not curtail work either. I’m pro market. ”
Dr Abela said that the merger between planning and the environment showed the Government’s willingness to strike a balance between environment and development. He said this would be achieved through sustainable construction and an increase in environmental areas.
“Look at the aesthetics, look at buildings and visuals .. . We need an environment that includes more trees in our country, more planting of trees, more greenery, more open spaces, and we need to create that balance, which I don’t think is impossible. ”
He was also asked about the provision of government land for private projects such as in the case of the pending Corinthia contract.
“I will see that every contract that is signed upholds the principle of proper compensation – because this is property belonging to the people, so I want to see that when property is transferred or concessions made, the people have a right to receive proper payment for their property. ”
Asked about whether he agrees that there should be a public register of meetings that take place with operators in the economic sector, the Prime Minister said he find no objection to the introduction of more transparency measures but argued that these should be realistic.