NSW Treasurer and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, was in Eden this morning to thank everyone involved in efforts to develop the Port of Eden, that have resulted in $25million in infrastructure funding finding its way to the stunning, but jobs-poor township in the past year.
He also made it clear that he expects the infrastructure boost to attract significant private sector interest in the town, a prediction that may be on the money.
“With this $25million capital investment into the port I think that, ultimately, the private sector benefits will flow, the business case will stack up, and for every dollar we put in, you should see a very healthy return back,” the Treasurer said.
“I expect the private sector to really start to take a lot of interest in Eden.
“It will flow through everything from retail in the main street, to tourism.
“I would expect uplift in terms of development, construction jobs, real estate,
“It’s flow-on effects should be quite significant.
“Everything in the business case around the commercial wharf has indicated that.”
The $25million breaks down as follows:
- $10million from the Federal Government to extend the commercial or breakwater wharf, letting large ships including cruise ships to berth in the port;
- $10million from the State Government in its May Budget to build a wave attenuator to make Snug Cove safe for boating;
- A further $3million in State Government funding to project manage the wharf extension; and
- $2million from the Bega Valley Shire Council for supporting studies for the Port of Eden project.
Rob Bain from the Port of Eden Marina group (POEM), who have extensively lobbied to have a wave attenuator and marina built to create a safe harbour for the port, says he has already seen the ears of private sector investors prick up since the NSW Budget announced the news of $10million for a wave attenuator.
“We know that we’ve got private investment,” Dr Bain said on Thursday morning.
“We’ve had three major companies join POEM in the last few days because they just want to keep track of what’s happening in Eden.
“And they’re all companies with strong track records of marine systems.
“Bellingham Marine have been members of POEM since day one and continue to show an active interest.
“But now there are a couple of other companies who have got on to us and who have joined.
“One of them is sending a director here to look around the port in the next week or so.
“All of that’s a good sign, but we’ve got to get through the Development Application stage, and then they might put their money where their mouth is."
Mr Constance told those gathered that he worked closely with Ports and Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, to fund the most recent $10million boon, apparently without the knowledge of public servants .
“Duncan and I took this decision - I won’t tell you when throughout the Budget process - but the point being, we know that this is going to be an enormous success,” he said.
“Duncan and I didn’t completely confer with the bureaucracy that that was what we were going to do, so they got the biggest surprise.
“Bureaucracy will always find too many rules, too much red tape.
“This money ($10million) has come from the capital works budget of the Roads and Maritime Services ministers."
Bega Valley Shire Councillor Sharon Tapscott was present at the morning tea, along with Councillors Mike Britten, Russell Fitzpatrick and Ann Mawhinney.
Cr Tapscott also commented on what the overall news meant for Eden.
“Eden is now a priority in a lot of people’s eyes, including Council and our local members; it can only be good for us.”
Realtor and POEM member Glenn Brunette agreed.
“The port is Eden’s greatest asset and were going to see it finally realised to its potential,” Mr Brunette said.
“So this is probably one of the most important announcements in the past 30 years.
“Arguably, this is the best news we’ve had in that time.”