Cobb's budget wish-list: Blue Mountains freeway, inland rail and Needles Gap dam

HARD DECISIONS: Member for Calare John Cobb.

HARD DECISIONS: Member for Calare John Cobb.

MEMBER for Calare John Cobb has a wish-list for the May federal government budget that includes a freeway across the Blue Mountains, a western inland rail system and a dam at Needles Gap.

He knows he is probably not going to receive money for any of them, though. 

“They’re the three things that matter long term, truly they are,” he said. 

“It will be a tough budget and I think its been overdone, the tough budget talk, but it does not change one iota the need to get the spending under control.”

The Bells Line Expressway and an inland rail system would be the key to expansion in the central west, and a proposed dam at Needles Gap would ensure water security for future mines that would, in turn, employ hundreds of people, Mr Cobb said.

The budget will be released on Tuesday, May 13 and Mr Cobb said he would not be “pulling anyone’s leg” with hopes and prayers for announcements for the Calare area. 

He said he still supported Charles Sturt University’s bid for a medical school but would not comment on whether he thought it would be included in the budget.

The Needles Gap dam proposal would not be in the budget because Mr Cobb was still “working on producing evidence” to show the government the plan was viable and of the utmost importance. 

“As much as nobody likes to make hard decisions, it has to happen and everybody is going to feel some part of it,” he said. 

“I can’t comment on where the budget will end up.”

He said the Roads to Recovery scheme, which provided funding directly to local councils for road maintenance, would be expanded over the long term . 

The abolition of the carbon tax would see pensioners better off, Mr Cobb claimed, because the tax would be removed but the subsidies pensioners received from the tax would continue. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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