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Local projects in need of Snowy Hydro dollars – transport to culture and sport

By Ian Campbell 16 March 2018
Snowy River Mayor John Rooney is pushing to have the Canberra to Bombala rail line reopened. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Snowy River Mayor John Rooney is pushing to have the Canberra to Bombala rail line reopened. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The full sale of Snowy Hydro to the Federal Government is a $4.2 billion injection into the New South Wales economy, and the Mayor’s of South East NSW are lining up to spend it.

Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro, John Barilaro have “ring-fenced” those dollars for infrastructure projects in rural and regional NSW.

“4.2 billion dollars in one go for rural and regional NSW does not happen often, this is a once in a generation opportunity,” the Premier says.

“Snowy Hydro is iconic, an iconic nation-building project, what we intend to do is convert the proceeds into iconic nation-building projects for rural and regional NSW.”

Eurobodalla Mayor, Liz Innes is ready to help the Premier spend it; her wish list is geared towards generating employment and economic development opportunities.

“We’ve completed significant work in identifying our infrastructure priorities at a local and regional level,” Cr Innes says.

“This is a wonderful new opportunity and we’re grateful the NSW Government is directing the funding to regional areas.”

The top priorities for Eurobodalla Shire:

  • Batemans Bay Regional Arts, Aquatic and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park
  • Agribusiness and aquaculture infrastructure, including export packing and tourism facility for recently announced oyster hatchery at Moruya Airport;
  • Surf Beach innovation park – subdividing and providing infrastructure for future economic and employment growth;
  • Southern water storage facility – helping to secure Eurobodalla’s water supply with a 3,000 megalitre, off-stream storage facility near the Tuross River;
  • Improved coastal access and inclusive infrastructure incorporating walking trails, accessible pontoons, accessible facilities, and beach and water access.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes is keen to advance Council's plans for a new aquatic and cultural centre for Batemans Bay. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes is keen to advance Council’s plans for a new aquatic and cultural centre for Batemans Bay. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

West of the coastal escarpment, Snowy Monaro Mayor, John Rooney has big ambitions including reopening the rail line from Canberra to Cooma and then on to Bombala and the port of Eden.

Cr Rooney was quick to put the idea on the agenda soon after being elected Mayor late last year, telling Fairfax Media at the time, that rail was the most efficient form of land transport and that reopening the Queanbeyan-Bombala railway would give the Dongwha mill at Bombala access to softwood plantations in the ACT and Palarang.

At that time the Mayor committed himself to speaking with all levels of government to progress the idea, five months later there’s money on the table for what the Deputy Premier and local member says will go towards infrastructure projects that span generations.

Also on the Snowy Monaro wishlist:

  • Upgrading the transport network to ensure the main freight routes are to modern standards, including Imlay Road to Bombala
  • The Bundian Way, a 360km ancient Aboriginal pathway that links Targangal (Mount Kosciuszko) and Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach, Eden)
The Snowy Mountains Highway on Brown Mountain has been unstable for many years. Photo: RMS.

The Snowy Mountains Highway on Brown Mountain has been unstable for many years. Photo: RMS.

In the Bega Valley, Mayor Kristy McBain also has road infrastructure in mind.

“Bega Valley Shire Council was very pleased to see the recent State Government announcement in regards to a potential funding boost for the regions stemming from the Snowy Hydro sale,” Cr McBain says.

“We have identified a number of infrastructure project priorities that, when completed, will bring substantial financial and social benefits to our community.

“[Including] water treatment facilities at Bemboka, Brogo, and Bega, [and] an upgrade of the Brown Mountain east-west transport link .”

Bega Valley Shire Council has just launched an Infrastructure Prospectus touting a range of projects in need of government and/or commercial investment.

The prospectus enables the State and Federal Government to look at projects over a wide range of infrastructure, cultural, and sporting priorities for our area, we would obviously welcome any additional spend in our area,” Cr McBain says.

When it comes to what projects are funded when, the Deputy Premier says, “We’ll take our time deciding what those projects are.”

“We don’t want to squander the opportunity, the legacy left by Snowy Hydro,” Mr Barilaro says.

What would your community do with Snowy Hydro dollars? Make your pitch below.

*This story first appeared on RiotACT

What's Your Opinion?

8 Responses to Local projects in need of Snowy Hydro dollars – transport to culture and sport

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Steve Osborne 2:12 am 22 Mar 18

To hear that the Mayor is still even thinking about reopening the rail line from Bombala is now beyond belief. Sure, we all mourn the loss of the rail network in Australia, think wistfully of the Cooma Mail chugging along through the night crammed with skiers, and there may be some who see the re-birth of the region (especially Bombala) as linked with timber transport - even to the coast.

But, if the Mayor is serious about his plans to spend money on an infrastructure project like a new rail line, then I'm afraid it's the room full of mirrors for him to have a good look at himself!

I know that during the initial discussions about a rail trail feasibility study, Mayor Rooney said he couldn't let go of the idea of re-building the rail line for trains. I thought he was joking, but he still can't let it go!

This is a great example of the difficulties which the new Council is experiencing, where any idea seems to get a run and take up the time of the whole enterprise. Take the Mayor's enthusiasm for a name change of the Shire (hello??) and then complaining the Council had too much to do during their meetings.

As I recall, a letter to the Post at the start of the new Council suggested that the future of the Shire Council would rest on actual performance in its key areas of actual responsibility , eg roads, rubbish and development. At this rate, and if the Mayor wants the trains to run again, they are way off track!

Roger G. 9:41 pm 21 Mar 18

Reopening the railway is a fabulous idea. How about extending a branch of the Canberra to Cooma railway into Jindabyne? We have so many visitors from Canberra, it would bring weekenders down during summer as well as winter. It could also pass via Berridale.....a big boost for the whole area, and a really scenic route.

Susannah 3:24 am 21 Mar 18

Provide more facilities for the people who live here to actually use.

There are hundreds of families moving into the Jindabyne area and nothing is being improved.... we have a hot summer, not just a snowy winter, so Give them something to do outside and inside as well - like a kids water park, a small kids bike track (the mini street types), a proper fenced dog park, invest in JIndabyne Central school (JCS) to allow them to expand or create another campus, look at promoting / enticing more businesses to move into the area to offer year round activities (eg- bowling ally, ice rink, play centre) and company headoffice structures to bring in more consistent year round employment (not just hospitality based).

Implement a weekend doctor service. Because there is no doctor open on a Sunday between Thredbo and Canberra and a 5hour wait at Cooma hospital for antibiotics is not acceptable.

If you want this area to grow, then you need to invest in it. You can not just release land and not do anything else to support it and those who move here.

Above all, Whatever you do, don’t waste the funds!

Ian 4:53 am 20 Mar 18

Build a navy cadet unit in Jindabyne

tony kiek 2:12 am 20 Mar 18

1. A daily bus service linking Jindabyne bus station with Canberra airport. 2. Bigger playground for Jindy School. 3. Decent boat pontoon and toilets and Jindy boat ramp. 4. Light rail link between Bullocks Flat and Jindabyne. 5. Proper connecting footpaths. 6. ice skating rink in winter 7. Bowling alley. 8. regular and cheaper flights from Cooma airport to Sydney/Melbourne (currently an almost totally wasted facility). 9. free homeless shelter (and a refuge for women). 10. Crikey, this list could go on forever ... why do cities and coastal towns get all the facilities they want (e.g. boat pontoon for Merimbula lake, Westconnex, etc.) and we get f.a.

Chris 10:41 am 19 Mar 18

Jindabyne Central School (JCS) is expanding exponentially. The playground size that the kids currently have is less than ideal in an age where physical exercise in youth is inadequate. By the time the current infant years reach secondary level, they will have outgrown the footprint of the school (based on the numbers of new enrollments every year).

Both primary and secondary years are using the same playground areas. To make this work they have to stagger recess and lunch times to alleviate the playground over-congestion during these breaks.

Some consideration and planning is required for the seperation/segration of the JCS primary and secondary schools into separate locations, so that both can meet the minimum floor-space-per-student ratio, as set by the NSW Dept. of Ed.

Over the past 6 years, additional demountable class rooms have been added one after the other to cater for the growing community and each time this has happened, the kids have lost more playground area.

These country kids deserve playgrounds as big as their suburban counterparts and the current community has outgrown the allocated school area.

Can the NSW Sport & Rec. area in Jindabyne be shared with a secondary school.

Or at at a minimum, can a study be conducted on the growth of the community vs the current floor-space-per-student ratio as set by the NSW Dept. of Ed?

Jacki 1:39 am 18 Mar 18

Give small regional towns one Gov dentist & an optometrist for their residence that can't get into major towns to get the care they need. It's disgusting how small regional towns can get nearly a million dollars for sporting venues but those people that need gov help to help with their health issues don't get a bloody cent. Living in a small country town is like living in a third world country & no body gives a shit.

WELL IT ABOUT TIME THE BLOODY GOV STARTED TO GIVE A SHIT.

Robert 1:33 am 18 Mar 18

A dam above cochrane dam and one at Crystal brook at Bemboka. Would see major water supplies for this area secured allowing for future growth of our region.

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