Gunnedah shire to fight for funding

GUNNEDAH has again missed out on funds from mining this week, but the shire council said it would continue the fight.

Gunnedah Shire Council submitted new data on truck movement figures, pushing for the shire to be included in the new round of the Resources for Regions Program.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner responded to the council that the new data increased the shire’s ranking from 21 to 11, but only 10 areas were selected and Gunnedah was still not prioritised for the next round of Resources for Regions funding in 2014/15. 

Gunnedah mayor Owen Hasler said they were confident that they would be included in this year’s funding round.

‘’However, while accepting the altered mining-related truck movement data, the Economic Assessment team would not accept our population growth figures as they were based on the NSW Minerals Councils latest analysis (the NSW Mining Industry Economic Impact Assessment 2012/13) rather than the 2011 Census of Population and Housing figures obtained by the Australian Bureau of Statistics,” Councillor Hasler said. 

“Mr Stoner claims that this is to ensure equitable treatment of every LGA in the state as the Census is the only official source of employment data by industry at the LGA level.

“Interestingly enough, Mr Stoner also highlights the fact that truck movements are only counted if they cross an LGA boundary and not movements wholly within an LGA.” 

This meant that mining-related truck movements were down from more than 700 to 400, counting those from 

Tarrawonga mine in Narrabri  shire to the loader near Gunnedah and those travelling through Gunnedah shire to Maules Creek because the iron bridge on the Namoi River north of Boggabri was not capable of handling the heavy loads.

“Once again, the NSW government is investing in the neighbouring Narrabri shire by building a $7.5 million replacement for the iron bridge north of Boggabri, while we have had to tolerate the heavy traffic servicing the two mines already operating in that shire, being Whitehaven’s Tarrawonga and Idemitsu’s Boggabri operations, as well as the extra traffic caused by the construction of Whitehaven’s new Maules Creek mine,” Councillor Hasler said. 

“We have sought a further meeting with Mr Stoner on   July 25 when he is expected to visit Tamworth so that we can further advocate our case whilst we will also be preparing a submission for the 2015/16 round when, if the government is re-elected, Mr Stoner maintains that there will be a further $6 billion available for infrastructure projects based on the lease of 49 per cent of the state’s poles and wires companies. 

“The community would have a right to be very surprised and angry if we are not successful in any future round of the Resources for Regions program given our efforts over the last two years.”

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