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Nationals deliver Chaffey Dam funding.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Mark Vaile MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of the Nationals

03 September 2007 141MV/2007


The Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, today announced that the Coalition Government has agreed to contribute $6.545 million to the Chaffey Dam Augmentation project so that work can start on boosting water security for Tamworth residents and Peel Valley irrigators.

"Today's announcement follows persistent and patient lobbying by local Nationals led by Phil Betts and Senator Sandy Macdonald," Mr Vaile said.

"I have been particularly impressed with the way Phil Betts has refused to give up on this project. Even when there seemed to be set backs, Phil has continued to work patiently with the government to get this outcome for Tamworth.

"Phil Betts has demonstrated, both as Chair of the Chaffey Dam Upgrade Community Reference Panel Augmentation Subcommittee and as a candidate, that working co-operatively is the best way to achieve results, not throwing stones from outside the tent.

"The important thing about this project is that it increases reliability and water security without increasing water extraction. It increases the capacity of Chaffey from 62GL to 100GL.

"Construction on the augmentation project should start as early as mid-2008 and provides hope to irrigators who, despite recent rain and a rise in dam levels, still have zero water allocation. Tamworth residents who have also recently enjoyed a return to lighter level 2 water restrictions are under no illusions about the need for better water security.

"Unlike a Labor/Greens Government, the Coalition is not opposed to building dams and I am committed to seeing this project through."

The Federal Government's funding will be delivered from the Australian Government Water Fund - a $2 billion programme to invest in water infrastructure and improved water management.

The funding is contingent upon the State Government and other stakeholders meeting their agreed funding shares (State Govt $4.697m, TRC $2.482m, PVI $0.876m). The project will be subject to the standard environmental approvals process.

It is now the responsibility of the NSW Government to manage this project on budget and in a timely manner. NSW officials should now promptly lodge their business plan for this project with the National Water Commission.

Media Contacts

Tim Langmead ( Mr Vaile's Office ) 6277 7680 / 0421 584 990