Deputy PM asked to visit electorate

LYNE MP David Gillespie's response to the request of Greater Taree City Council to arrange an urgent meeting with deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, is to request an electorate visit.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Mr Gillespie advised the Manning River Times "that the office had submitted a request for Mr Truss to visit the electorate".

"We haven't got a date at this stage," the spokesman said.

The spokesman commented further that no request had been made by Mr Gillespie for representatives of council to travel to meet with Mr Truss in Canberra or at any other location in Australia. "We want him to come to the electorate to meet with council," he added.

The decision of council to seek the urgent meeting with Mr Truss is a result of its meeting with Mr Gillespie on January 29 in Taree to discuss the $11.4 million Greater Taree Roads and Bridges Package.

Mayor Paul Hogan, general manager Gerard Jos and seven councillors met with Mr Gillespie to discuss council's position that $11.4 million of $12.5 million in funding for Manning Valley roads and bridges should not have been withdrawn by the federal government.

The outcome of the meeting was that Mr Gillespie was requested to an organise an urgent meeting with Mr Truss to discuss funding commitments to the Regional Development Australia Fund and Community Infrastructure Grants Program.

Last week, mayor Paul Hogan said "the need for this meeting is urgent as the federal government would be discussing budgetary processes."

"I am fighting for the community for what is rightfully ours, for money that was approved to be spent in this council area."

Council wants to sit down with Mr Truss to discuss his media statement of December 4, 2013 that focused on federal government funding of the new Community Development Grants Program.

Mr Truss stated, "The Australian Government will also fund projects that were left uncontracted under the former Labor Government's Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) (rounds 2,3,4) and Community Infrastructure Grants Program (CIG)." Further, "The Australian Government will fund the RDAF (rounds 2,3 and 4) and CIG projects on the condition that contracts are finalised within six months."

Cr Hogan said council met the required funding deadline as it submitted its paperwork relating to the funding on June 26, 2013.

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