Like a well-oiled machine, port stakeholders gathered to give Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Tourism Bob Baldwin a run-through of port development plans at the harbour masters office on Thursday.
It was blowy and wet but that didn’t deter Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Peter Tegart – who took time out from personal leave – from making his way to Eden and pitching an overview of council’s application for $15m funding in the fourth round of the Regional Development Australia Fund.
With Liberal candidate Peter Hendy at his side, Bob fired off some extra questions and opinions and, apparently sated, lamented the loss of his mankini when the Magnet camera came out.
Liberal swimwear jokes aside, the member for the seat of Paterson saw the merit of the project, which would cater for cruise ships, off shore tenders and recreational boats, but was sceptical of the Labor Government’s ability to cough up the money since the mining tax fell short of its predicted target.
“If you are successful, make sure you have the cold hard cash in the bank before the next election,” he told the group.
“But you do need an economic driver down here and the one thing I’ve said repeatedly is we have to fund infrastructure that will drive people to it down the track, one that will help the case for people to grow and develop their business, this sort of fits into that.”
“(But) there’s about $8 billion worth of projects and only $175 million dollars available.”
Mr Tegart drove home his pitch.
“There’s only two ports in the RDA round four, around 20 airports and the rest as you’ve pointed out are largely fixing buildings and so forth,” he said.
“We’ve done the work and demonstrated the number of jobs created and that will create a larger number once we update it with the cruise vessels now coming through more frequently.”