THE uncertainty surrounding upgrades to the Werris Creek water treatment plant have again been taken to the state political arena.
As pressure builds on the state government to bring its share of funding to the project, Labor MLC for Tamworth, Daniel Mookhey has put minister Niall Blair on notice for the second time in six months to explain the delays.
Flagged as the upgrade that would virtually “drought proof” Quirindi, Werris Creek and Willow Tree, the planned works include a nine-megalitre-a-day water treatment plant, raw water pump station augmentation and a treated water pump station in the Liverpool Plains shire.
This week in parliament, Mr Mookhey called on regional water minister Niall Blair to “immediately” clarify whether the government would financially contribute to the upgrade of the plant and to not leave community members in “the lurch.”
“The Werris Creek Water Treatment Upgrade Project has been studied to the nth degree. Its upsides and downsides are well known,” Mr Mookhey said.
“What no one knows is the National Party’s policy. Will they, or won’t they, fund it?
“Families living on the Liverpool plains deserve an answer.
“With summer fast approaching, the worst outcome would be to leave the community in limbo.
“Even if the answer is no, at least the community would know.
“They wouldn’t be left in the lurch ahead of a hot summer.”
Mr Mookhey’s call to action follows an announcement by former Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce who pledged $10 million in Federal government funding in May last year.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council was to provide $7 million for the $27 million project, with the state government asked to come to the table and fund the remaining $10 million.
In a statement to The Leader, a spokeswoman for Mr Blair’s office said the project was being assessed.
“The Department of Industry – Crown Lands and Water has recommended the Werris Creek Water Treatment Plant to Infrastructure NSW, which is currently assessing the project,” the spokeswoman said.
“It’s part of a larger project aimed at securing water supply for the Liverpool Plains.
"Once that assessment has been completed, further consideration can be given to funding and timing."