TAMWORTH and its surrounds could capitalise on the mining boom out of Maules Creek if strategic roads are upgraded, mayor Col Murray says.
Cr Murray said Manilla and Barraba are poised to be prime real estate for miners and their families if Boggabri-Manilla Rd and Spion Kop Rd were improved.
“Manilla is actually closer than Narrabri to a number of those mines sites, so it’s not unreasonable to expect, particularly Manilla and to some extent Barraba, will prove to be a definite option for those mining workers,” he said.
“Both those centres have amazing health facilities, both have got very secure water supplies, good capacity in sewerage treatments systems, probably the only downfall is the road network, especially the Boggabri-Manilla Rd.”
Cr Warren Woodley joined Cr Murray on Wednesday in Barraba where they drove along Spion Kop Rd, which leads to Maules Creek.
Cr Murray said the trip, which took less than an hour, could be significantly reduced if it were not for the “ordinary” roads.
“We see (Boggabri-Manilla Rd) – and we have spoken to (member for New England) Barnaby Joyce about this – as a regional, strategically important road, which passes through three council boundaries – Tamworth Regional, Gunnedah and Narrabri,” he said.
He suggested many of the miners would be lured to Manilla and Barraba and even Attunga due to their close proximity to Tamworth’s bustling CBD.
If funding can be extracted to improve the road network it could be a major coup for the city, potentially securing the likes of hundreds, if not thousands of miners and their families to the region, igniting a housing boom and increasing economic growth.