Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes is optimistic after working through the council’s advocacy plan with Deputy and Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Wagga Wagga state Liberal candidate Mackenna Powell on Wednesday.
“We were there for one and a half hours, so they gave us a pretty good hearing. They seem to have plenty of time for us and we are hoping we’ll get funding for our projects,” Cr Hayes said.
Mr McCormack and Ms Powell were in Tumut stating the case for re-electing the NSW and Australian coalition governments, and Cr Hayes did not miss the chance to advocate Snowy Valleys projects. “We discussed infrastructure, liveability, amenity, economic enablers, industrial lands and connectivity.
“I brought up the Brindabella Road, to which Mr McCormack was receptive, and he’s got some sway in that area, as well as other roads, freight, haulage routes and the possibility of bringing rail back.”
This is something Mr Hayes strongly believes in.
“Most people would see the advantage of having the railway back here,” he said. Mr Hayes spoke about the Batlow to Tumbarumba rail trail, but not the proposed Batlow to Tumut rail trail project.
“I would rather have trains on it,” (the Cootamundra-Tumut rail trail route) he said.
“That would be a greater economic driver.
“We also spoke about the country university centre, and he (Mr McCormack) is very keen on our multi-purpose centre.” Cr Hayes said Mackenna Powell knows the Tumut region.
“I was surprised how many people knew her here,” he said. Cr Hayes said he advocated much the same things with Ms Powell as with Mr McCormack.
“We talked about weeds and their impact on primary industry, and they were both aware of this issue,” he said. The council’s advocacy plan aims to secure funding and support for ten priority projects in the lead up to the 2019 State and Federal elections.
The projects are the Brindabella Road upgrade, upgrade of key freight and haulage routes, completion of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail, caravan park improvements, Education and Business Centre of Excellence/Country University Centre, Multipurpose Centre, access to health professionals, industrial lands, Software Centre of Excellence/hub and connectivity.
“The ten projects contained within the advocacy plan were determined as a result of the feedback given to Council staff and Councillors during the development of the Community Strategic Plan, Snowy Valleys 2028,” Cr Hayes said.
The plan has been developed to support work that the council is undertaking through its strategic alliance with the Canberra Region Joint Organisation and REROC.
“With both State and Federal elections coming up in 2019 we will be working very hard to seize the opportunity to escalate and promote the community’s priority projects in an effort to secure funding and support,” he said.