In the last two articles I have talked about the North of the electorate, then Armidale.
Today is about the largest city in the electorate, Tamworth.
Tamworth is and always has been a very strong economy.
So many people rely on it for a job, for services, for schooling, and it is now attracting people from Sydney, Queensland and so many other areas to live here.
It is a reality that it will grow like other cities such as Toowoomba has grown and we have to plan for a city in excess of 100,000 people now, rather than try and retrofit roads, headworks and other services in the future.
That is why when I first returned and the upgrade of Chaffey Dam was unapproved, underfunded and unbuilt, we saw the task through, seeing it built on time and on budget.
I think everyone now gets a great sense of pride as they drive past this expanded water infrastructure, and clearly understand how this makes our city stronger.
After this, I worked to get another $75 million set aside for the upgrade of Dungowan Dam.
I have to work with the State Government for this, but we have put our money on the table and if we can get some funding from the State I believe we can build the water infrastructure that will allow this great city of Tamworth to grow to 150,000 people.
I realise in the future that will probably mean that the seat will predominantly be just around Tamworth, but that’s how our nation grows, and I don’t want our nation to just grow in Sydney.
I want it to grow in the regional centres.
We have to attract people into this city and that’s also why I found it important to put money on the table for the Northern Inland Centre of Sporting Excellence with a commitment of $8.5 million by the Federal Government towards this $17.2 million project.
This creates a front door for our city so that people are impressed by the services and facilities we have when they come to visit us for events such as the Country Music Festival.
It also strengthens the city’s standing as the powerhouse for regional sport in NSW and Australia, and will mean our local athletes won’t have to travel great distances to train and compete in a world-class facility.
This is great news for Tamworth.
We are building now the corridors that will be the ring roads of the city in the future.
Sealing Appleby Lane, putting money on the table for the Jewry Street Bridge duplication, and increasing the heavy vehicle access capacity of the Tamworth Saleyards.
Around Tamworth we have 37 new or upgraded mobile phone towers being funded at locations including Woolomin, Manilla, Warral, Westdale, Duri, Dungowan, Attunga, Hallsville, Moonbi, Oxley Vale and Piallamore and the nbn is being rolled out throughout the city.
We recently saw Vodafone and Optus commit millions of dollars to the Tamworth area with new mobile towers, as well as the switching on of new nbn services in Tamworth which mark the halfway point in the rollout of the nearly $50 billion project.
Tamworth will grow no matter what, but our job is to facilitate the fastest and best possible growth for the city.
It is only reasonable that Tamworth gets its own chapter in this description of the electorate because it is vitally important for the economy of the New England.