MP wants to secure share of remaining $14m for region

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has slammed the allocation of funding yesterday from the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program, which saw the northern basin fail to attract a single dollar of funding to offset the impacts of water buybacks through the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).


“It beggars belief that our region, which has been impacted more than most other parts of the Murray Darling Basin, didn’t attract funding for a single project,” a bewildered Mr Marshall said.


“If any region within the Murray-Darling Basin needed a leg up, it was this one.


Mr Marshall said the entire $18 million announced yesterday would go towards 21 projects, all in the south of NSW.


“What is most galling for us is that communities not even impacted by the water buybacks, like Tumut, will receive funding, but we didn’t get anything,” he said.


“The region is hurting and an injection of funding would help to put some confidence back into the community and get things moving.”


Mr Marshall said the $100 million Federal Government program, of which NSW has a $32 million share, was established to assist Murray-Darling Basin communities increase economic diversification and adjust to the new water constrained environment.


“The loss to on-farm activity from the MDBP is estimated to be about $20 million, and somewhere in the order of between $40 and $60 million of regional activity in towns like Goondiwindi and Moree,” he said.


Mr Marshall said there was still hope the region could see some funding, with $14 million from the program still unallocated. The MP said he’d be taking up the issue with Regional Development Minister John Barilaro next week when Parliament resumes.


“I’ll be doing my very best to ensure the remaining funds are distributed to worthwhile projects in the northern basin, where the impacts of the MDBP have been felt,” he said.


Mr Marshall said the four Moree projects submitted for funding were a mixture of local government and private enterprise programs which were worthy of consideration.


“Moree Shire Plains Council has a plan to expand access to Moree Airport in regards to commercial operations, initially developing 12 allotments at the airport to attract new business opportunities,” he said.


“The Artesian Water Complex would like to encourage greater use of this tourist attraction and install wind breaks and shade sails; this infrastructure would improve the user experience and increase visitor numbers.


“The commercial operations seeking funding relate to the expansion of the horticultural industry in Moree and the establishment of a barramundi farm.


“There is $14 million still to be allocated in the State and I can assure the region that I will make every effort to see these projects and others get proper consideration.”


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