Projects in South East NSW lining up for Snowy Hydro dollars

Ian Campbell 16 March 2018 16
Snowy River Mayor John Rooney is pushing to have the Canberra to Bombala rail line reopened. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Snowy River Mayor John Rooney is pushing to have the Canberra to Bombala rail line reopened. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The full sale of Snowy Hydro to the Federal Government is a $4.2 billion injection into the New South Wales economy, and the Mayor’s of South East NSW are lining up to spend it.

Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro, John Barilaro have “ring-fenced” those dollars for infrastructure projects in rural and regional NSW.

“4.2 billion dollars in one go for rural and regional NSW does not happen often, this is a once in a generation opportunity,” the Premier says.

“Snowy Hydro is iconic, an iconic nation-building project, what we intend to do is convert the proceeds into iconic nation-building projects for rural and regional NSW.”

Eurobodalla Mayor, Liz Innes is ready to help the Premier spend it; her wish list is geared towards generating employment and economic development opportunities.

“We’ve completed significant work in identifying our infrastructure priorities at a local and regional level,” Cr Innes says.

“This is a wonderful new opportunity and we’re grateful the NSW Government is directing the funding to regional areas.”

The top priorities for Eurobodalla Shire:

  • Batemans Bay Regional Arts, Aquatic and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park;
  • Agribusiness and aquaculture infrastructure, including export packing and tourism facility for recently announced oyster hatchery at Moruya Airport;
  • Surf Beach innovation park – subdividing and providing infrastructure for future economic and employment growth;
  • Southern water storage facility – helping to secure Eurobodalla’s water supply with a 3,000 megalitre, off-stream storage facility near the Tuross River;
  • Improved coastal access and inclusive infrastructure incorporating walking trails, accessible pontoons, accessible facilities, and beach and water access.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes is keen to advance Council's plans for a new aquatic and cultural centre for Batemans Bay. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes is keen to advance Council’s plans for a new aquatic and cultural centre for Batemans Bay. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

West of the coastal escarpment, Snowy Monaro Mayor, John Rooney has big ambitions including reopening the rail line from Canberra to Cooma and then on to Bombala and the port of Eden.

Cr Rooney was quick to put the idea on the agenda soon after being elected Mayor late last year, telling Fairfax Media at the time, that rail was the most efficient form of land transport and that reopening the Queanbeyan-Bombala railway would give the Dongwha mill at Bombala access to softwood plantations in the ACT and Palarang.

At that time the Mayor committed himself to speaking with all levels of government to progress the idea, five months later there’s money on the table for what the Deputy Premier and local member says will go towards infrastructure projects that span generations.

Also on the Snowy Monaro wishlist:

  • Upgrading the transport network to ensure the main freight routes are to modern standards, including Imlay Road to Bombala; and,
  • The Bundian Way, a 360km ancient Aboriginal pathway that links Targangal (Mount Kosciuszko) and Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach, Eden).
The Snowy Mountains Highway on Brown Mountain has been unstable for many years. Photo: RMS

The Snowy Mountains Highway on Brown Mountain has been unstable for many years. Photo: RMS.

In the Bega Valley, Mayor Kristy McBain also has road infrastructure in mind.

“Bega Valley Shire Council was very pleased to see the recent State Government announcement in regards to a potential funding boost for the regions stemming from the Snowy Hydro sale,” Cr McBain says.

“We have identified a number of infrastructure project priorities that, when completed, will bring substantial financial and social benefits to our community.

“[Including] water treatment facilities at Bemboka, Brogo, and Bega, [and] an upgrade of the Brown Mountain east-west transport link .”

Bega Valley Shire Council has just launched an Infrastructure Prospectus touting a range of projects in need of government and/or commercial investment.

The prospectus enables the State and Federal Government to look at projects over a wide range of infrastructure, cultural, and sporting priorities for our area, we would obviously welcome any additional spend in our area,” Cr McBain says.

When it comes to what projects are funded when, the Deputy Premier says, “We’ll take our time deciding what those projects are.”

“We don’t want to squander the opportunity, the legacy left by Snowy Hydro,” Mr Barilaro says.

What would your community do with Snowy Hydro dollars? Make your pitch below.

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16 Responses to Projects in South East NSW lining up for Snowy Hydro dollars
Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 6:54 pm 22 Apr 18

Definitely do the Dam first then get planning for another 500,000 people in the Bega area, release more land for cheap housing and industrial development. Upgrade the road to Merimbula airport. More people, more rates, more improvements.

Vincent8 Vincent8 10:45 pm 20 Mar 18

Rebuild and re-open the Queanbeyan – Cooma – Bombala railway line, and extend it to Eden. Has Mayor Rooney done any costings for a such a project? Upgrading all the sleepers and bridges along the old track to meet national rail safety standards, repairing the bridges across the Maclaughlin, Bredbo and Numeralla Rivers, realigning the Snowy Mountains and Monaro Highways which have encroached on the rail line reserve, rehabilitating the Bombala, Nimmitabel, Cooma, Bredbo and Michelago railway stations, these alone would probably gobble up the $4 billion windfall from the sale of Snowy Hydro, not to mention the engineering costs to extend the line from Bombala to Eden down the eastern escarpment. Time to come out from behind those rose coloured glasses and focuses on issues in the Snowy Monaro region like dramatically improving the unsealed to sealed road network, upgrading Snowy Mountains and Jindabyne airports and making Snowy Mountains airport a freight hub for the region that businesses in Jindabyne, Nimmitabel, Bombala, Adaminaby, Cooma and surrounding primary producers can get their products to Australian and international markets within 24 hrs. And how about seeking funds from the windfall to improve broadband services in the region so that more online businesses like Birds Nest, Cooma are encouraged to set up and offer local employment in the new digital economy, and so that young people want to stay in the region.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:29 pm 17 Mar 18

The suggestion that a Canberra waste to energy (incinerator) could be built away from Canberra is ridiculous. I mean that the ACT government in 2012 paid millions of dollars for land in Mugga Lane to extend the life of the MLRMC for another 30 years and that is where it will be built.

    Maya123 Maya123 12:16 pm 18 Mar 18

    It was to be built at Fyshwick until complaints.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:12 pm 19 Mar 18

    Correct, but the main complaints of heavy truck traffic being introduced in Fyshwick will not apply at MLRMC as the trucks already go there.

    There are already three smell and toxic emission generating enterprises at the MLRMC so another one should not be a problem. They can also mine the exixting garbage there which will enhance the economics of the venture. Who cares if half of north Tuggeranong becomes a ghost town.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:24 pm 17 Mar 18

Re the concept of the “ski express” trains from Sydney, the factor that will be missing is of course snow with climate change predicted to eliminate it all in a few years.

Just sayin’.

Tim Cole Tim Cole 10:51 pm 17 Mar 18

Initially, even if the line from Queanbeyan to Cooma could be re-established. With minimal level crossings on the trip, express passenger services above 160 km/h could make commute times of 45 minutes or so.

During the winter months, fast trains from Sydney to an integrated coach terminal in Cooma could see a ski-express service, 1-2 hours faster than the coach options currently available now.

Vanessa Jones Vanessa Jones 1:05 pm 17 Mar 18

100% support reopening the rail line again, from Canberra-Cooma-Eden. Yes, do it! Please.

    About Regional About Regional 2:03 pm 17 Mar 18

    Wouldn’t it be great! Ian

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:05 pm 17 Mar 18

    Then if the waste-to-energy facilities for Canberra were still wanted, they could be set up out in the country away from housing. Originally it was to be built in Fyshwick because of the rail line there, but with a reopened line to Cooma that would open up other places to consider putting the plant; away from residential areas.

Bernadette De Riva O'Phelan Bernadette De Riva O'Phelan 12:53 pm 17 Mar 18

Rebates for installing household solar power! That would be a cracker.

    About Regional About Regional 2:04 pm 17 Mar 18

    Sign me up! Ian

    Bernadette De Riva O'Phelan Bernadette De Riva O'Phelan 5:52 pm 17 Mar 18

    About Regional it would be funny hey. Sell them an electricity system and then put everyone on solar! I’m looking to put solar on but would welcome any support.

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 12:11 pm 17 Mar 18

The things that make the area beautiful are what people destoy. Leave the environment be.

    About Regional About Regional 2:04 pm 17 Mar 18

    There’s some great enviro ideas in the mix. Ian

MD Carol MD Carol 10:32 am 17 Mar 18

The south coast snowy region is absolutely beautiful, and it's industry/jobs that are needed there to bring people in. Set up something which can employ people.

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