Deputy Prime Minister's visit not just lip service: mayor

BATHURST mayor Gary Rush has rejected suggestions this week’s visit to the city by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss was nothing more than a talkfest.

Mr Truss met with mayors from across the central west, as well as local MPs, at Rydges Mount Panorama on Tuesday to discuss the worrying employment and productivity situation facing the Calare electorate.

This includes the looming job losses at EDI Downer and Simplot in Bathurst and at Electrolux in Orange, which will  cost the region around 700 positions.

Mr Truss left Bathurst making no promises or commitments to alleviate the situation.

However, Cr Rush said yesterday he felt certain the Deputy Prime Minister was genuine in his desire to do the right thing for the region.

“I was able to have personal discussions with Mr Truss away from the glare of the media,” he said. “He asked me a couple of questions. He was interested to hear from me what the federal government could do to support the region coping with the pending job losses.

“Mr Truss told me the best way to stimulate an economy affected by job losses was to look to projects which he described as being ‘shovel ready’. That meant they could begin immediately without needing years of studies and investigations before being given the go- ahead such as the Needles Gap dam proposal.

“People have to realise he just can’t breeze into town with an open cheque book because there are due processes to be followed.

“And I think the fact we actually had the Deputy Prime Minister in Bathurst was a bit lost during his visit. 

“A person like this doesn’t come to a city just to pay lip service to its civic leaders.”

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