UPDATE: THE NSW minister for roads and freight says there’s value in Tamworth ongoing push to establish an intermodal freight hub, but it remains unclear when the government will back the project with funding.
While mayor Col Murray agreed it was disappointing to have the process so drawn-out, minister Melinda Pavey said successful funding applicants will be notified in due course.
“We do believe there is value in this project, that it will lead to greater economic activity,” Ms Pavey said in a written statement.
“That’s why this project shared in $1 million in state government funding for the planning and design work required to make it a reality.
“Tamworth Regional Council have submitted an application under Round 1 of the Fixing Country Rail Program and successful applicants will be notified in due course.”
EARLIER: THE state government is still yet to commit its support to Tamworth’s intermodal freight hub, but council remains hopeful an announcement will be coming any day now.
Tamworth Regional Council has held its bated breath anticipating a $9 million funding announcement to upgrade a small stretch a rail in West Tamworth.
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The upgrade would set in motion Tamworth’s plan to establish an intermodal freight hub on the western edge of town.
Mayor Col Murray said the hub could create up to 5000 jobs in the future.
He told The Leader he was disappointed the government had held out for so long on supporting the project financially.
“I am [disappointed], but only last week we met with Minister Melinda Pavey and we did have some encouraging news that we’re expecting any day now,” Cr Murray said.
There was no funding announcement for Tamworth in the state government’s budget which was released in June.
The snub came despite, Deputy Premier, John Barilaro’s pre-budget pledge to “turbo-charge” the regions.
While Mr Barilaro saw value in the project, funding still hasn’t been forthcoming.
“It will be an up-lifter for the economy of NSW and it will be all driven by Tamworth,” he said.
Council was buoyed this week formally announcing the replacement it had secured for the departing BAE Systems defence flight school.
From February, CAE Oxford will move in its commercial flight academy, with its sights set on hosting 100 prospective pilots at the Tamworth base and employing up to 45 staff.
We met with Minister Melinda Pavey and we did have some encouraging news that we’re expecting any day now.Mayor Col Murray
Cr Murray thinks the announcement will put the Tamworth airport on the map and strengthen the facility’s claim to become an international freight hub in its own right.
“I think this helps to put Tamworth Regional Airport on the map and that freight discussion is progressing along,” he said.
“We have had some encouraging news from Australia government agencies who are not coming up with any deal-breaker obstacles.
“They have advised of all the steps we have to take, and there are many, but that project is progressing with a little bit more confidence.”