Corowa hopeful for yards deal

COROWA Council has presented the stalled saleyards upgrade for a slice of the $32.5 million on offer following NSW agreeing to the Murray-Darling Basin water reform plan.

Premier Barry O’Farrell signed up to the plan yesterday after securing a commitment to cap water purchases at 1500 gigalitres and the additional funding to help river communities adjust to changes brought about by the plan.

Corowa mayor Fred Longmire said his council was aware this funding would eventually materialise and hoped the state member for Albury Greg Aplin and federal member for Farrer Sussan Ley would go in to bat for the saleyards.

“We are in the hunt for this money and have already put in a submission,” Cr Longmire said.

“We look forward with interest to see what comes of this announcement.

“We always knew NSW had to sign up and they have done so now.

“It was explained to us in Canberra that we were still in the ball game and this was on the horizon.”

Cr Longmire was referring to a meeting he and council general manager Chris Gillard had late last year with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’ chief of staff, David Whitrow, about saleyards’ funding.

Corowa was repeatedly overlooked for Regional Development Australia funding by the former Labor government.

They were told to wait until next year for any future Regional Development Australia rounds, but the basin plan adjustment cash was another avenue of attack.

Ms Ley welcomed the agreement which brought all jurisdictions together for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan for water reform.

“There’s two elements to this agreement which are really crucial,” she said.

“One, is the commitment to cap water buybacks at 1500 gigalitres, which sets a definite marker for our irrigation sector.

“It is one they can actually work with.

“Secondly the potential boost to NSW river communities from the economic diversification fund is enormous.

“We already have some great ideas for the $32 million this deal will unlock, and I look forward to working with both state and federal ministers to make them happen.

“This is a really important day for the future of my electorate.”

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