Centroc meeting benefits region

THE Bells Line Expressway, the Bathurst Bullet, an agriculture action plan and water security were among the issues discussed at Centroc’s meeting at Parliament House on Thursday.

Centroc representatives met with member for Orange Andrew Gee and state government ministers to discuss priorities for the central west face-to-face.

Centroc chair and Parkes mayor Ken Keith said it was a successful day.

“I think there will be some good news for the central west, watch this space,” he said.

He believed there could be some money in the state budget to increase water security, however, the ministers were guarded about what they could tell  the Centroc representatives.

“There was a study Centroc did in 2010 about linking various towns to pipelines so in a drought situation, you can get water to them,” he said.

“The yields vary significantly to when that was done, so we want to study the possibility of a new dam so we can ensure all communities have water security.” 

Meanwhile, no firm commitment has been made to link the Bathurst Bullet to Orange, with the Department of Transport still investigating. 

“It’s been extremely successful and [Transport Minister] Gladys Berejiklian mentioned looking into the best way, whether they get coaches from other towns, that’s all being investigated,” Cr Keith said.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said there was little money to spend on the Bells Line Expressway and the Bells Line of Road would be upgraded gradually until more funds became available, however Cr Keith welcomed plans to investigate the route between Kurrajong and the M7. 

He also welcomed an undertaking from Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to work together on a food and fibre action plan to create jobs in the rural sector.

While the budget will not be announced until June 17, Mr Gee said the 7.2-kilometre Goanna Hill realignment between Orange and Molong was raised and he would push to have the multimillion-dollar project funded.

“It’s a black spot, there’s no doubt about that. Finding a lazy $50 million in the budget is never easy, but that’s what we’re trying for,” he said.

Mr Gee said the meeting was the second time Centroc representatives had met with ministers.

“Most people on the coast don’t know or care what happens west of the divide and that’s why we need to come together to speak with a united voice and it does help,” he said.

“I think the ministers have a lot of respect for Centroc.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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