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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6402

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (12:25): In the decade from 2001 to 2011, the Visy pulp mill at Tumut produced 2.6 million tonnes of paper and generated $2 billion in sales. I am sure the minister can appreciate just how many jobs the Tumut Visy mill generates for the Tumut Shire. The Visy mill is also underpinned by the Gocup Road. I know I have raised this before with the minister but I would like to go through very quickly that there were no road projects funded in round 1 of the Regional Development Australia grants. That said, RDA Southern Inland endorsed seven road projects in the region for round 1, and it would seem that it considered such projects to be eligible.

The round 2 guidelines identified minor roads and access corridors as an exception to ineligibility criteria. There are at least 10 road projects considered in RDAF round 2. Of course, the RDAs were not asked to confirm eligibility so this may just have been a waste of resources at every level. I draw attention to the Glenelg Shire Council projects for the Condar Hot Spur Upper Road upgrade and Green Triangle region priority infrastructure. This does seem like another timber road except that it was cleared to proceed to full application. The Bomen intermodal at Wagga Wagga was approved to proceed to full application. Why was one piece of the timber freight task eligible for assistance but Gocup Road—admittedly it is a state road—which carries a greater tonnage of the overall industry freight task, not eligible? Minister, could this be considered as road project funding worthy of grants in a future RDAF?