Council to provide business case at State department's request

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GREATER Taree City Council will this week provide the State government with requested additional information relating to its application for funding for the Northern Gateway Regional Transport Hub project.

According to council's general manager, Gerard Jose, the State government requested information from council in January 2014.

"We are currently finalising a business case for the Northern Gateway project which will be submitted this week," Mr Jose said.

"This business case will be independently assessed by Department of Trade and Investment who will then advise the outcome. Once confirmation has been received, that the State government will provide their contribution, we will then be able to negotiate a funding agreement, including scope, timing and milestones, with the federal government."

Mr Jose said the Northern Gateway Project Control Group would meet on February 26. The group consists of a representative from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the Department of Planning, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Greater Taree City Council, the Economic Development Partnership Board and is chaired by the Regional Manager Department Trade and Investment. He added that State and federal members of parliament do not attend the meeting.

The Northern Gateway aims to provide a regional transport hub that is in close proximity to the Pacific Highway, and can easily service Taree airport and railway station.

Mr Jose said it would create a regional freight point for line haul between Brisbane and Sydney.

"It is a well situated site for freight transfers and distribution for the Lower and Mid North Coast area. Forster/Tuncurry, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Gloucester, Taree, Wingham and the surrounding regions are all well placed to benefit from bulk freight being brought to a highway adjacent point and then distributed regionally," Mr Jose said.

"The project has the synergy of addressing fatigue management issues for line haul operators Taree to Sydney, unload and back load to return to Taree but also freight continuing north. Ongoing northern bound freight would be then sent on via line haul operators.

"$10 million from the federal government is contingent on obtaining State government funding. Greater Taree City Council's co-contribution is approximately $6 million - $3 million in cash and $3 million in kind. In addition private investors will also be contributing to the overall project.

"This is a significant partnership between government and business community to stimulate our economy and provide local jobs," he added.

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