FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has welcomed approval by the State Water Board to award a conditional contract for construction for the Chaffey Dam safety upgrade and augmentation project.
Mr Joyce said the Board at a recent meeting green-lighted the project conditional on whether each funding partner agreed to accept cost overruns, environmental approvals being granted and the resolution of a landholder compensation claim.
He said he’d been advised the NSW Government and State Water have reached agreement on risk sharing of the NSW and Commonwealth’s share of contingency risk, subject to commitment by the Tamworth Regional Council to cover their share.
Mr Joyce was aware the Tamworth Regional Council was considering a report on the matter at its meeting tonight ((8 April 2014)).
He said the Chaffey Dam project was all about future proofing Tamworth and the surrounding communities.
Mr Joyce’s recent appointment by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to chair a new ministerial working group set up to identify new water infrastructure projects had made him determined to ensure the Chaffey project would be his first job to tick off.
Water was wealth he said and the storage capacity of water in Australia per capita was falling.
“The government must get the country into a position where we won’t be as exposed to dry periods as we have seen lately.”