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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2562

Mr JOHN COBB ( Calare ) ( 09:54 ): I am sure we all await the next edition of About the House with bated breath!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): I am just going to correct the record. I didn't ask for the photo, okay? It wasn't me who asked!

Mr JOHN COBB: I would like today to address parliament on the issue of developing towns and the problems they have. There are two in my electorate in particular which have particular problems. One is Parkes, which is a well-known place on the intersection of the Newell Highway and the Western Highway as well as on the Indian Pacific line and presumably, in the not too distant future, the Melbourne to Brisbane western line. When a town is in this position and it is a storage and depot area for containers to go all around south-eastern Australia from Adelaide to Brisbane, it does need help beyond what local governments provide for bypasses to actually have the throughput it already has and for the future. It needs help from government to do this. Parkes in particular really needs a bypass. It really needs infrastructure help to deal with that issue. Likewise, the town of Blayney to the south-east of Orange is in a very similar position. Both towns have mining. Blayney in particular is going to have more mining in the near future, although it is a smaller town. Both towns have their normal agricultural thoroughfare to deal with.

They are on major routes and they have both road and rail combining on them. It is beyond local government to actually provide the infrastructure—the bypasses and the roundabouts, which are no small thing. Blayney in particular has a safety issue, where trucks and railway combine not even on the edge of the town but in the town, and they do very much need help to deal with this.

While I am speaking on those regional issues, Regional Development Australia, although it is fine and it puts money out, does not look after anything other than major centres. The money is far too big for the smaller towns—such as, in my electorate, Trundle, Tullamore in the east, in the west down to places like Sofala and what have you. They do not have the turnover. There needs to be over $1 million in turnover by a non-government organisation before it gets a look in. No small town can get a look in. This program was designed to deal only with population centres and not necessarily where the need resides.