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State reneges on STP demolition promises

cvreview-imagesc   Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has learnt that the NSW Government will not fulfil its “promises” of financial assistance to decommission and demolish sewerage treatment plants (STP) at South Grafton, Maclean, Ilarwill and Townsend. At the former STP at South Grafton, the site of the new CVC depot now under construction, the council may have to pay the full amount of $243,001 to Hutchinson Builders, the company in charge of the project. The council had expected the NSW Government to contribute $68,769.28 under the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Scheme (CTWS&SS). However, a letter from Gavin Hanlon, deputy director general of the Department of Primary Industries, advised that “all available funds are allocated” for the CTWS&SS, which is due to be completed on June 30, 2017. The report to the October council meeting states the $68,769.28 “shortfall in funding can be met from the sewer fund reserves”. The potential shortfall for the decommissioning and demolition of the Maclean, Ilarwill and Townsend STPs is $445,200. However, the actual amount cannot be ascertained until current tenders for the work are assessed, because the promised funding was a percentage (21 per cent) of the estimated $2.12million cost of the project. Councillors unanimously voted to “make representations to the Hon Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water, and Mr Chris Gulaptis MP, Member for Clarence, seeking the NSW State Government to honour its previous commitments to provide financial assistance for the Grafton and Maclean Townsend Ilarwill sewerage projects”. The NSW Government’s funding promises were made in 2007 and 2008. Mr Hanlon pointed out in his letter to CVC that “the NSW Government has provided over $69million to CVC under the CTWS&SS since its inception”. The council’s water cycle manager, Greg Mashiah, described the NSW Government’s advice, in his report to council, as “another example of cost transfer from the State to Local Government, as any funding shortfall is borne by Council’s sewer customers”.