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Haul road hitch

Thursday, 7th June, 2012

By Andrew Robertson

Doubt remains over State Government support for the proposed $8 million heavy vehicle bypass road, despite the project securing federal funding yesterday.

The project, which would see a bypass road built to link the Barrier and Silver City highways, has secured $3 million from the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).

Regional Australia Minister, Simon Crean, said the 10.8 kilometre transport corridor would provide “an economic and jobs boost” for the region and improve road safety.

Some $3m in funding and in-kind assistance has already been committed to the project by City Council and mining company Perilya whose trucks will use the bypass to haul ore from the Potosi mine to a processing plant at its Southern Operations.

Council’s General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said yesterday the federal grant funding was conditional on the project receiving support from all funding partners, including the State Government.

He said included in the submission was a letter of support from each project partner.

“The submission we made was three million from the Federal Government, two million from the NSW Government, two million cash and in-kind from Perilya and one million from Council,” Mr Zaknich said.

“We’ll obviously be talking to the State Government about their commitment and making sure that’s in place because if it’s not then obviously the project can’t proceed.

“What we need to ensure is that each of the parties who have supported the application actually commit.”

However, local State MP John Williams said the State’s letter of support did not necessarily mean it was going to provide financial assistance.

He said the State had already knocked back one request from Council for funding and would need to be convinced the project was worthwhile.

“The NSW Government has told them (Council) they won’t support it,” Mr Williams told the BDT.

Perilya was not yet hauling material from Potosi and there was “a degree of speculation” about who was going to use the bypass road, he said.

Council and Perilya originally struck a deal to build an unsealed all weather bypass road so the company’s trucks could be kept off the city’s streets.

But the project has since grown to become a two-lane, fully sealed road with an estimated construction price of $8m.

The consultants responsible for the preliminary design said in a report that the bypass would be used mainly by Perilya’s trucks and would not alleviate much heavy traffic on the city’s road.

“This whole case relies on the Potosi development and some of the other projects that are (proposed),” Mr Williams said.

“There’s got to be a commitment from Perilya that it’s going to be put to good use.

“It’s one of the things the State Government is going to challenge, unfortunately.”

Mr Williams said there was, however, some support within the government for the project.

“(Deputy Premier Andrew) Stoner understands this bypass haulage road alleviates the problem of heavy traffic through the city.”

He said he had told Mr Stoner’s adviser about the Commonwealth’s commitment and would lobby the government for funding on behalf of Council.

“(Mr Stoner) is aware of the announcement and I’ve told him that it has been supported by the Federal Government and the NSW Government needs to identify their position.”

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