THE region’s councils have presented their infrastructure and service priorities to Nationals candidate for New England Barnaby Joyce.
The mayors of the Namoi Group of Councils – Liverpool Plains, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Tamworth, Walcha and Uralla – have met with Mr Joyce to discuss their top 20 issues impacting their communities.
Chairman of the group, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray, said Mr Joyce had indicated if he was elected member for New England on September 7, he would be committed “to liaising” in relation to the group’s issues.
The group’s Top 20 priorities are:
o Installation of the National Broadband Network in all major cities and towns in the New England North West Regions.
o Upgrade of water supply and wastewater services in the towns of Quirindi, Gunnedah and Narrabri to accommodate growth and development of town precincts directly due to mining development in the Gunnedah Coal Basin.
o Network capacity upgrade of the North West Rail Line including upgrading of the rail coal haulage network through Liverpool Plains, Gunnedah and Narrabri local government areas.
o Replacement of railway level crossings with overpasses for towns of Gunnedah, Werris Creek and Quirindi due to the increasing movement of coal trains.
o Upgrading of the West Tamworth Freight Terminal to provide an opportunity to move more freight by rail and take the pressure of the road network.
o Continuation of the Regional Development Australia Program which has provided significant funding for road transport infrastructure within the Namoi region.
o Continuation of the Roads to Recovery Program as a source of funding for vital transport infrastructure.
o Direct allocation to local government Australia-wide of a 1 per cent fixed share annually of federal government taxation revenue under federal government Assistance grants to local government.
o Establishment of a federal government disaster management program and a pool of funds of at least $50 million for renewal or replacement of vital local government infrastructure damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.
o Federal government Infrastructure Funding to provide timely and planned investment in local council infrastructure to create strong foundations upon which communities and industry can grow and prosper.
o Federal government industry assistance to ensure the poultry meat industry remains a profitable and sustainable industry cluster in the Peel and Namoi valleys.
o Federal government intervention to ensure that the security of food production and the protection of natural resources, including prime agricultural land, is a prime consideration in decisions relating to the economic growth and development of the Namoi region.
o Federal government encouragement and financial assistance, subsidies and incentives to regional industry to development and harness bio, geothermal, solar and wind energy technologies.
o Construction of a Regional Trade Training Centre within the Gunnedah Coal Basin to provide skills training to meet mining industry trade training requirements.
o Strategies to address widespread deep community concern at the purchase of Australian agricultural land by foreign governments, foreign state owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds.