Corowa Council renews bid for saleyards

THE Corowa Council has rolled the dice and again asked the federal government for $2.7 million for its stalled saleyards project.

Federal minister Simon Crean will announce in early July the projects to be funded in round four of regional development funding.

The announcement will be made in the lead-up to the federal election with the Gillard government holding a tenuous grip on power.

The hotly contested Regional Development Australia grants will be a test for the government which could favour projects in marginal electorates to shore up its re-election chances.

Corowa is in the safe Liberal seat of Farrer.

Corowa mayor Fred Longmire has been seething since the project was overlooked in the last round of regional funding six months ago.

The saleyards bid was trumped in the Murray region by the $10.5 million Albury Art Gallery redevelopment, which has since been placed on hold, due to the NSW government refusing to meet a third of the cost.

Funding was also provided for the Deniliquin major events centre.

“We didn’t get our money and I am still sore about that,” Cr Longmire said.

“But we’ve just got to front up again. We know it is a project that will bring immense benefits to our part of the world.”

The project price tag has blown out by $100,000 since Corowa’s last bid.

But the council is committed to providing $1.4 million and is banking on the federal government paying $1.3 million.

Corowa could have applied to another funding pool designed for projects in towns with a population of less than 30,000.

But the maximum grant was only $500,000.

Corowa made its intentions clear with an expression of interest for round four before the deadline this month.

The outcome of the expression of interest process will be known in mid-February and, if successful, Corowa will then to make a full application.

Cr Longmire managed a face-to-face chat with Mr Crean when he visited Albury-Wodonga in August for the opening of Wodonga’s The Cube entertainment centre.

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