Former Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly said it was a “dream come true” to see the first Boco Rock Wind Farm components being unloaded, during a visit to the navy multipurpose wharf on Monday.
Dr Kelly was instrumental in securing the Boco Rock project during his tenure as federal local member, and was also behind the push to have the components brought in via the Port of Eden.
Now a senior policy adviser to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Dr Kelly said he is actively trying to help secure a role in the project for local stevedores from Australian Marshalling Services (AMS).
“Whether you’re the local member or not, it doesn’t matter,” Dr Kelly said.
“There are a lot of things you can do, and there are a lot of volunteers in this region who try and work together to advance our region; I’m just continuing to be a part of that story.
“I haven’t made up my mind about (contesting the next election) yet and I’m sifting through a lot of offers for the future, but my decision to contest Eden-Monaro in the first place was based on a deep love of this region.”
Dr Kelly said it is vital to work towards getting more locals involved, with one of his main aims in starting the project being to showcase the port’s potential.
He said a number of wind farm operations and other commercial interests had expressed interest in using the navy multipurpose wharf because of its economic advantages, but were cautiously waiting to see the outcome of the Boco Rock project.
“They all indicated that they would climb on board here if we could demonstrate that it’s viable, so the potential is there for a lot of work in farms that are being established,” he said.
“Then as farms turn over their components, which they do around every 10-15 years, there will be a constant flow of work.
“Hopefully then we get other commercial interests looking at this port as an alternative to other ports.
“There is a possibility of arranging container runs through here to pick up things like Bega Cheese exports, and also exports from the Visy pulp mill in Tumut.
“My aim was to diversify the economic base here in Eden so that we would never be held hostage to any one industry in the future, and it’s very important that locals get jobs out of it.”
Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy’s office was approached for this story, but declined to comment.