Local MPs tread water on funding

PRIORITY: NSW water minister Niall Blair said there is a pressing need for Werris Creek’s water upgrade. Photo: Gareth Gardner 060516GGA13WERRIS Creek could be waiting until June for the NSW government to come to the party and fund the town’s “urgent” water upgrade.
Nanjing Night Net

After the new ministry was sworn-in this week, the Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has again stepped up thepressure on the state government to provide $10 million in funding to upgrade the Werris Creek water treatment plant.

Last year, mayor Andrew Hope called onlocal MPsMichael Johnsen and Kevin Anderson to arrangea meeting withwater minister Niall Blairprior to Christmas,but it never happened.

Mr Johnsen’s Upper Hunter seat encompasses part of the council shire, and hetoldThe Leaderhe expected to geta meeting very soon “with Christmas and January now out of the way”.

The MP said he would continue to lobby minister Blair to commit to the project and issued a mid-year deadline.

“I am calling on the government to include the funding in the June budget details,” Mr Johnsen said.

Meanwhile, Werris Creek falls in MrAnderson’s Tamworth electorate, and he maintainedthat $10 million was “a significant sum of money”.

“I don’t hold the pursestrings on this one,” he said.

The Tamworth MP said there were a number of key projectshe was pushing for, including the $58 million Gunnedah overpass project.

Mr Anderson said the Werris Creek water treatment project was as important as the Gunnedah overpass and that every project in the electorate was critical.

The regional water minster said the Werris Creek project was a priority but didn’t say when the government would commit to the upgrade.

“Water security is critically important for growth in the Liverpool Plains and Upper Hunter regions,” Mr Blair said.

“I know there is a pressing need to upgrade the water treatment plant at Werris Creek and the NSW Government will consider these priority local and regional water infrastructure when funding becomes available.

“In the meantime, DPI Water has offered assistance and support to Liverpool Plains Shire Council to carry out pre-construction and design works.”

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