COUNCIL was forced to wait for state government funding to kick-start its intermodal freight hub project, but potential industrial suitors are already knocking on the door.
The state government delivered more than $7 million to upgrade the defunct West Tamworth rail line near a vacant 246-hectare block of industrial land near Westdale last Friday.
The following Monday council was receiving inquiries from potential buyers, director of business John Sommerlad said.
While the land appears to be hot property, mayor Col Murray says the land won’t be released until the intermodal facility is started to ensure council gets “the best return” for the community.
- Mayor disappointed with drawn out process
- Tamworth is set to become one of the biggest freight hubs in regional Australia on the back of the state government investing $7.418 million dollars in a new freight rail project.
- The Tamworth Enterprise Area has been earmarked to “provide a sizeable area of employment generating land”.
- Tamworth Regional Council banking on intermodal hub budget announcement
The land was purchased by council in late 2015 for undisclosed amount, but Cr Murray believes the land, once fully-developed, will be home to about 5000 jobs.
Andrew Hope, chair of the region’s joint organisation of councils, Namoi Unlimited, says the Tamworth-based freight project could be a big win for the whole region.
“In regional NSW, these sorts of projects could have a flow-on for everybody,” he said.
“Local government’s role is to allow facilitate infrastructure that allows growth and development.
Cr Hope, who’s also mayor of the Liverpool Plains Shire, said the trip to China with the joint organisation certainly wasn’t “just a holiday”.
“It’s a very hectic, there’s lots of formal meetings and formal dinners, you don;t get time to be a tourist,” he said.
While there may be some cynicism about the trip, Cr Hope says it’s about securing opportunities for the region into the future.
“We live in a great region with opportunities that need investment,” Cr Hope said
“If we can come back with one or two investors, it’s worth it.”