Narrabri wins water funding

NARRABRI has received more than $18 million to ensure key water and transport infrastructure can withstand the mining boom.

After being snubbed by the state government last year, yesterdrday the town emerged as the big winner from the Resources for Regions’ second round.

Narrabri Shire Council, bracing for an influx of new residents placing greater demands on its ageing infrastructure, secured funding for two major projects.

With an estimated 1500 new homes to be built in the next six years, the council successfully applied for $12.3 million towards addressing its longstanding water issues.

Narrabri’s water supply is at capacity, meaning residents are only one failed bore away from being burdened with water restrictions. 

The council also received $5.9 million – some $2.8 million less than originally sought – to help upgrade the runway at Narrabri airport.

Narrabri mayor Conrad Bolton said council would not have been able to fund the vital projects without the Resources for Regions program.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “To assist with the growth that we’ve had to date – and anticipating the growth we will have – we’ve had to borrow, which has taken away our financial flexibility.

“So this sort of funding takes the pressure off those borrowings and will provide the infrastructure upgrades that we’ve been waiting many, many years for.”

The Resources for Regions funding is designed to assist communities cope with increased pressure on their infrastructure when mines become operational.

The Narrabri shire has several major developments, including Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine and Santos’ coal seam gas project, expected to swell its population.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said the announcement brought the total amount invested in 2013-14 to more than $117 million across 20 projects.

“Successful projects have been chosen by an independent panel for their capacity to support economic growth and productivity, ease infrastructure constraints and support NSW communities affected by mining,” he said.

“These projects will deliver infrastructure to the regions in order to better service our communities, improve productivity and create jobs.”

Councillor Bolton said the council had not given up hope unsuccessful applications for $1.3 million to improve child care services will be approved in later rounds.

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