POURING money into infrastructure and putting more control in the hands of local councils for projects like the north Orange bypass will be a priority for member for Calare John Cobb if he is re-elected in September.
Mr Cobb said Calare was a region of producers who relied on infrastructure, especially roads.
He said he would put up a list of things each individual council needed if the coalition won the election, but said a freeway through the Bells Line of Road was something every regional centre wanted, with the federal government potentially needed to pay 50 per cent of the cost.
“We’ve got to get started on it, it’s not that far, nothing like trying to do up the Pacific Highway,” he said.
“I think [the freeway] will be private and have a toll. I’ve spoken to trucking companies who’ve said they’d pay a $50 toll.”
Despite his plans to spend more on infrastructure, Mr Cobb hopes the coalition will still be able to get the budget back into surplus “straight away” if it wins government, by changing priorities.
Mr Cobb said he secured the funds for the north Orange bypass while John Howard was prime minister.
Although the project has attracted criticism, Mr Cobb believes councils are able to manage large-scale projects, but says he would like to see more projects contracted out to private companies.
“It would be quicker and more efficient,” he said.
“But I have no problem dealing direct with councils because councils are responsible to their ratepayers, so they’re not going to deliberately do anything, bad but sometimes things happen.”
Water storage for the southern part of the electorate, including Orange, Blayney and Cabonne, was another priority.
“It’s all very well to talk about pipeline but this area is going to grow in urban and mining sectors and without water storage that will be limited,” Mr Cobb said.