John Cobb, MP for Calare, has roundly rejected suggestions that his proposed $150 million Needles Dam project has been given a one-in-100 chance of success by the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.
Mr Truss certainly implied that when he poured water on the project in Bathurst saying the scheme was “one of a hundred” dam proposals before the federal government.
But Mr Cobb has told The Phoenix that the dam “is identified by the federal and NSW governments [as] worthy of further consideration.”
Mr Cobb said the Needles Dam proposal is already noted in the federal government’s dam strategy and has been prioritised in the NSW Government Infrastructure Strategy for many years.
“Interestingly the Needles Gap location was originally identified 40 years ago for construction of the Carcoar Dam, but local politics placed it in the current location just north of Carcoar.”
Mr Cobb said the Needles Dam is one of three state government priority sites for urban and industrial water demand in regional centres.
“With the impending closure of Wallerawang power station [and the insufficient Fish River storage] it has been indicated that the Needles site on the Belubula River is now the highest priority.”
Mr Cobb reasserted his 100 percent commitment to the project, and says NSW State Water has indicated it will undertake a required $3 million feasability study.
He says he’ll now “lobby hard” for the $3 million to pay for it.
“I believe the Needles Dam proposal will mitigate several issues currently affecting our region – the lack of appropriate water security, a downturn in productivity, and encourage expansion of existing industries as well as attracting new industries to the region.”
By Derek Maitland