Chamber wants to talk with Gillespie about infrastructure funding

MANNING Valley Business Chamber has requested a meeting with Lyne MP, David Gillespie to discuss infrastructure funding.

President Geoff Jackson said the chamber was "very disappointed with the decision of the federal government to withdraw funding from the budgeted infrastructure program for the Manning Valley region."

"Our region has experienced several major rain events, suffered from ongoing rate pegging restrictions, disagreements between all levels of governments and the removal of the timber bridge replacement program," Mr Jackson said. "This has exacerbated the region's long term road and bridge maintenance backlog."

"Everybody is aware the Greater Taree City Council rate base is insufficient to meet the ongoing financial demand for the infrastructure backlog and any future growth."

Mr Jackson said Manning Valley Business Chamber, in conjunction with Harrington, Old Bar, Wingham and Taree chambers were supportive of the projects in the Greater Taree Roads and Bridges Package.

"This funding would have generated 12 additional full-time jobs and this is in addition to the construction jobs," Mr Jackson said.

"In the last quarter of 2013 there have been over 300 job losses in the Manning Valley which include UGL, Taree Community College, Gunnebo and several other smaller companies.

"Economic analysis of the funding has revealed that the $12.5 million would have contributed approximately an additional $20 million to the regional economy of the valley. The economic analysis of the funding does not take into account the additional costs to those affected communities and businesses in each of the areas targeted for funding of maintenance and upgrades by council. Our region is still recognised as socio-economically disadvantaged by many government agencies.

"Having facilitated and hosted a roads forum in early 2012, which identified national funding of local government as a major issue for the nation, but in particular for our region, it has come as a real blow to the people of the valley to see committed funding withdrawn," Mr Jackson added.

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