REACTION to the news of major investments in Snowy Hydro and Visy has created a great buzz in Tumut, but this is mixed with some concerns.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $8 million in funding in Cooma on Monday for the $2 billion Snowy Hydro 2.0 expansion, and Visy is to pour $2 billion into it’s Australian operations over the next ten years, a pledge made by chairman Anthony Pratt alongside PM Turnbull while opening the new $100 million the week before.
Mr Pratt gave no specifics on where the money would be spent, but said that between 600 and 700 jobs would be created at the Tumut mill “over time.”
Tumut District Chamber of Commerce president Lorraine Wysman is optimistic about what these investments mean for the future of the area.
“The announcement of the funding for Visy is another reason to get excited,” she said.
“People from away must be intrigued about our area – ‘where is Tumut? Let’s go see this place’.
Not only does it mean jobs but other industries must be attracted to our area.
Jobs and infrastructure; how fantastic.
The upcoming Council election is significant because we need people who are willing to embrace development and work alongside these new projects.”
Former Tumut Mayor and 2017 Snowy Valleys Council election candidate Geoff Pritchard is similarly happy, particularly with the Snowy Hydro upgrade.
“It’s going to do do so much for Australia, and we will get a throw-off from that, because the area’s name will enter national awareness, and a lot of people will be interested in coming here,” he said.
“The Snowy Hydro expansion is brilliant for us, even if it is not as big as when the Snowy Mountains Scheme was first established. We will have associated industries and a very large battery for the grid.”
Mr Pritchard believes that the expansion will lead to the establishment of wind farms in the east and tie in with solar farms to the west.
“Snowy Hydro is anxious for community support, because greenies have concerns about environmental issues, so they want to have the community on-side.
I hope that tourism becomes a big part of the expansion, especially with the establishment of the new shire.
People can see the scheme travelling around Tumut, Talbingo Kiandra and Khancoban, through the new shire.
I can’t see a down side.” However, he has his concerns about the Visy expansion.
“They haven’t said precisely what they are going to do, and a lot of the jobs are going to be automated,” he said.
“It is important that this area benefits from it and that the expansion doesn’t increase pollution.
They have to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with our beautiful area.”