COROWA mayor Fred Longmire has snubbed a pre-election photo shoot with member for Farrer Sussan Ley in protest at the lack of federal funding for the $2.7 million saleyards upgrade.
Ms Ley yesterday visited the saleyards which the council has committed $1.3 million towards improving on the proviso the federal government chips in the remaining $1.4 million.
Cr Longmire wasn’t prepared to be pictured with Ms Ley unless the Coalition could guarantee the matching amount if elected on Saturday.
“The fact is this is something so important to our region,” he said.
“The shire has put its money where its mouth is.
“What they have said all sounds good, but we still can’t get any assurance.
“All we are after is money and I will take photos all day long when we can get the funding.
“We are desperate.”
Ms Ley has given an undertaking she will lobby colleagues for the saleyards upgrade with funding from the National Stronger Regions Fund policy released last Thursday.
But, until the Coalition was elected her hands were tied on making commitments.
“If Corowa Council is seeking a pre-election funding announcement they should push the Labor candidate (Gavin Hickey), who represents the party that has been in power for the past six years,” a spokesperson for Ms Ley said.
Mr Hickey confirmed yesterday he supported the saleyards upgrade.
Ms Ley said she was confident the project went a long way to fitting the criteria placed on the allocation of the fund flagged by the Coalition, which has been set at $200 million each year Australia-wide.
“My comments are not a guarantee that any particular project application will be successful in the future,” she said.
“However they do underscore a commitment from the Coalition that we will have a well-resourced, well-targeted regional development fund, designed to help make regional communities a place where more people choose to live, pursuing opportunities for themselves and their families.”