Support for gateway project stressed

MANNING Valley Business Chamber has hit home the importance of The Northern Gateway Regional Transport Hub Project to Lyne MP David Gillespie.

Members of the business community, Greater Taree City Council, the Economic Partnership Board, presidents of other regional chambers and the NSW Business Chamber rallied to meet with Dr Gillespie in Taree last Friday.

According to chamber president, Geoff Jackson, "initially there was confusion as to the support and funding for the project however, Dr Gillespie was left in no doubt as to the depth of support from the business and wider community."

"He was impressed and re-iterated his support having used and expended much of his political capital to secure the funding for the project," Mr Jackson said.

Mr Jackson added that Dr Gillespie offered to arrange a meeting with the deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, Warren Truss, to enable members to present the project.

Mr Jackson said Dr Gillespie was told the Manning region "had suffered over 330 full-time job losses in the last quarter of 2013."

Managing director of GPB Partners, Graham Brown informed Dr Gillespie "that the region had lost more than 1300 jobs in the last five years and that investment, and federal, State and local council funding for infrastructure would arrest that declining job reduction, especially a project that was based around a commercial outcome."

The NSW Business Chamber has also thrown its support behind the project, according to Mr Jackson, and evaluated its economic benefit to the wider region beyond the Manning Valley at around $40 million.

The regional manager for the NSW Mid North Coast branch of the chamber, Kellon Beard said "this project has got to get up" and would seek a meeting to brief the NSW minister for infrastructure and deputy premier, Andrew Stoner, about the project.

"The presentation was extremely well received and the regional significance of the project was acknowledged by the member, as well as the magnitude of job creation that would flow from this project," Mr Jackson added.

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