Expert to get rail hopes on track
THE Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin will be banging on doors in Canberra until she secures money to employ an economic development officer to oversee the development of Casino as an industrial hub.
Ms Saffin will be asking the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Anthony Albanese to kick in $100,000 to the $80,000 Industry and Investment NSW and the $20,000 Richmond Valley Council has put up to employ the specialist officer.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Ms Saffin said.
The money will be used to employ someone for two years to work for the Richmond Valley Council to liaise with Metgasco and the developers of a rail freight hub to bring these projects to the ‘next stage,’ Ms Saffin said.
Metgasco plans to build two power stations, 30 megawatts and 200 megawatts, and a gas pipeline into South East Queensland. There are two proposals to develop a rail hub in Casino.
Projected employment figures indicate the gas and rail projects could employ about 960 people during the construction phases and 580 in ongoing full-time jobs.
“Metgasco need to move from the exploration to the exploitation phase,” Ms Saffin said.
Ms Saffin said despite there being no government funding pool for which the project was a neat fit, she was confident she could get the money because the region was identified as a priority employment area.
“The project will put Casino on the map,” Ms Saffin said.
The officer would also work with consultants and businesses toward the development of a gas reticulation network in Casino.
Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan said the industrial projects would give the town financial security.
“It could be a saving for local businesses,” he said.
“Industry will develop confidence for other industries to come to the area.”
A large amount of methane gas has been discovered in and around Casino.