NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce says plans for the long-awaited $45 million upgrade to Chaffey Dam are in the “fast lane” for approval.
Several meetings recently with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has Mr Joyce confident the project will be signed off on soon.
“I’m very confident that things should be moving very quickly,” he said.
“I’ve had a couple of meetings with (Mr Hunt) and he assured me that Chaffey Dam is in the fast lane.
“Obviously he can’t give a statement about whether it’s going to be approved or not approved, but from my observations, I can see no problem.”
The presence of the endangered Booroolong frog species near the dam has held up the project for more than two years.
But Mr Joyce said the dam, which supporters say will ensure Tamworth’s water security for the next 40 years, was a priority for the Coalition government.
“The economy of Tamworth is vitally important and we need a more secure water supply and, if I had my way, I’d try to build more dams in the area,” he said.
“I was speaking to the Prime Minister (yesterday) about precisely that ... about Chaffey Dam and how important it would be.”