A NEEDLES Gap dam could take up to seven years to come to fruition and despite a visit from Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss there is still no short-term solution for the looming central west jobs crisis.
Calare will lose 1100 jobs in the next 30 months, a feasibility study for the Needles Gap Dam could take up to two years, construction would be about five years, the dam could provide 150 jobs but member for Calare John Cobb said the flow-on effects of the construction could secure the region’s future.
But the government has yet to agree to a $3 million feasibility study on the proposed site at Needles Gap gorge with Mr Truss saying there were 100 proposed dams vying for funding.
But Mr Cobb said he would fight hard for his constituents and had already sent a letter to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott requesting the funds.
“By God I want to see this dam built,” Mr Cobb said.
He believes it would provide the best possible solution to ease the jobs crisis about to hit Orange and the central west because it could create about 500 jobs provided mining companies gravitated to the area after the Needles Gap dam secured the regions water supply
But hope of a financial assistance package for the region is fading with Mr Cobb saying the solution to these types of problems “is not always about money”.
Mr Cobb, member for Orange Andrew Gee, Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles with mayors from around the electorate met with Mr Truss yesterday as he toured the region and inspected the proposed dam site near Canowindra.
Mr Styles said he spoke with Mr Truss about what ideas Orange council had to ease the looming jobs crisis but could not provide further details because council had not yet completed its analysis.
“The decision by the deputy PM to come to Bathurst and meet with local mayors is a good sign that the federal government is looking seriously at finding solutions to the problem of creating jobs,” Mr Styles said.
“Funding for a feasibility study would be a step in that direction.”
When Ford closed its doors in Geelong, the federal government handed out $15 million and the state government handed out $4.5 million and when the BlueScope Steel blast furnace closed in the Illawarra taking with it 800 jobs, the federal government gave $20 million and the state government gave $5 million.
It took the federal government seven days to announce a $100 million package for South Australia after Holden said it would leave Australia.