From the Newsroom

CVC prepares $128.6m wish list for new federal government

Geoff Helisma

With the next federal election looming – May 21, 2022, is the last possible Saturday to hold the election – Clarence Valley Council (CVC) wants to be prepared when and if the new government starts handing out grants.

A list of 16 “priority projects for federal government funding”, with a total value of $128.6million, was tabled as a late item at last week’s October 26 CVC meeting, however, several councillors objected to the lack of forewarning – councillors Toms, Ellem, Clancy, Novak and Simmons – and the item was not adopted.

General manager Ashley Lindsay advised councillors: “At the last federal election in May 2019, both major party candidates for the Page electorate endorsed the Grafton Waterfront Masterplan as a project that they would fund if their party was elected to government.

“As a result, council was successful in receiving a $6.5 million grant from the government for the upgrade of the Grafton waterfront upgrade.”

Mr Lindsay wrote that staff have determined a “list of priority projects” after reviewing “approved plans and strategies”.

“The projects are aimed at reinforcing the Clarence Valley as a key regional destination, which will assist the economic downturn brought about by COVID-19 and natural disasters that have occurred over the past few years,” Mr Lindsay wrote.

Meeting practice meant that the item could not be debated until it was formally accepted as a late item.

Councillor Williamson moved a motion to accept the item, saying to his fellow councillors, “You either accept or you don’t!”

Councillor Greg Clancy wasn’t happy about tabling the “last minute” list and said there was “no way there’ll be a federal election before the November CVC meeting”.

He said he had a “few problems” with some of the projects and “supported others”; and suggested discussing the items at a workshop before the November meeting, “to give us time to debate” project priorities.

Mayor Jim Simmons said, “…as to the urgency of dealing with this matter now … I’m prepared to vote against it and defer it as an agenda item to the November meeting.”

Councillor Peter Ellem said the “list is not clear regarding project priorities”.

“The Yamba local bypass doesn’t feature at all, and I’d like to know where the $150,000 study is,” he said.

“…I have no problems with most [of the projects], but some I’ve never heard of.”

Councillor Karen Toms said she was “against accepting the late item” and that it is an “important list”, so there should be “no rush to make a decision before the meeting closes at 7pm”.

In his right of reply, Cr Williamson said it didn’t “worry” him “either way, frankly; the next meeting will be fine”.

“[But] if we are caught up on what our priorities are, we are deluded,” he said.

He said the new council would have the final say; “it won’t be ours” and “if we don’t have a list, we won’t get a crack”.

“Don’t get caught up on priorities, they mean diddly squat,” he said.

Mr Lindsay confirmed that the list would be tabled at the November meeting – it will be discussed at a councillor workshop during the interim period.


Priority Projects for Federal Government Funding

  • Grafton Pool – Stage 1 $15 million (shovel ready)
  • Grafton CBD Upgrade – $20 – 25 million
  • Pedestrian Plaza (Link Project) – Grafton Waterfront to Grafton CBD – $3 million (shovel ready)
  • Grafton Regional Livestock Selling Centre – saleyards roofing – $1.5 million
  • Watermain to Grafton Airport to support aerial firefighting activities plus open up opportunity for employment lands adjacent to the airport – $1.5 million
  • Grafton Regional Airport – runway pavement upgrade $10 million
  • Riverbank Restoration from Maclean to Farlows Lane – will protect Yamba Road, Yamba watermain – $15 million
  • Maclean Floodplain Levee renewal (shovel ready) – $5.7 million
  • Nymboida River Weir Fishway – $5 million
  • Water pipeline from Grafton to Minnie Water/Wooli – (would replace two separate village water supply schemes and potentially allow recreational activities on the two lakes) $22 million
  • See Park (Draft Masterplan) – $2.5 million
  • Nymboida Water Supply tunnel renewal – $3.5 million
  • Brooms Head Beach revetment wall (shovel ready) – $2.7 million
  • Duplication of the Clarence River watermain crossing at Harwood – $9.6 million
  • Duplication of the Clarence River watermain crossing at Grafton – $6.6 million