OUR SAY: Centroc's success will show in budget

AT the beginning of the week Orange councillor Glenn Taylor described the group of western councils known as Centroc as a waste of time and money.

In exchange for membership fees and the cost of attending meetings around the central west Orange had received precious little, Cr Taylor complained.

The Bells Line Expressway seemed as much a pipe dream as ever, despite years of lobbying, and Centroc had knocked on the head his idea of the umbrella organisation buying a petrol tanker to cart fuel over the mountains for member councils.

On Thursday Centroc representatives posed on the steps of State Parliament having just spent several hours meeting with government MPs.

It was a rare opportunity for a group of regional councils facing common challenges to present a united front directly to government ministers.

The Bells Line Expressway, regional water security, job creation and better transport links to Sydney using the Bathurst rail service were some of the items on the agenda. With less than three weeks to the state budget, Centroc had a chance to put its last meaningful pitch for state funding. It also had ministerial clout on its side.

Local Government Minister, Bathurst’s Paul Toole and Minister for Gaming, Racing and the Arts, Dubbo’s Troy Grant, should have been in Centroc’s corner, as indeed should that perennial Nationals upper house member Duncan Gay, the Roads Minister.

The three should have been able to champion Centroc in the cabinet room. Whether they were able to do so successfully and thus silence Cr Taylor will be evident on June 17.


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