The NSW Government has provided Lachlan Shire Council with $10.1 million to flood proof local roads and boost tourism.
NSW Nationals Upper House MP, Sam Farraway announced the funding on Tuesday, 21 July at the renowned Utes in the Paddock installation and tourism precinct.
The funding will allow for the upgrade of 8.7 kilometres of the Lachlan Valley Way and Gipps Way, near the tourism precinct. This will reduce its susceptibility to flooding and give motorists and freight operators better access to the Shire.
It will also provide for the construction of a state-of-the-art visitor information centre at the tourism precinct.
The new Visitor Information Centre will promote local and regional products, tourist attractions and experiences to encourage tourists to stay in the shire for longer.
Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf OAM said he was excited about the funding announcement which would provide a much-needed boost to local tourism.
“It was a very exciting day,” he explained.
“It’s a game changer. Not only for Condobolin but for the whole of Lachlan Shire. It’s one of these things we’ve been working on for a long, long, long time.”
The Mayor referred to the 2016 floods which caused great difficulties with traffic and freight movements for many weeks, saying the road works will alleviate those issues in the future.
“This money will fix that problem and also combined with the works we need to do on the Utes in the Paddock and also the Jockeys Memorial. It certainly will make Lachlan Shire one of those places that people need to visit,” he stated.
The Mayor said Lachlan Shire has many tourism attractions and the new visitor centre will vastly improve the visitor experience.
“Under the present COVID situation, people need to visit within New South Wales and this is a place they definitely should come to,” he articulated.
Mr Farraway said the 8.7 kilometre road upgrade would reduce its susceptibility to flooding.
“As locals know only too well, heavy rain can cause substantial flooding across the very flat Lower Lachlan Valley, which disrupts residents and industry whose livelihoods depend on being able to travel and transport goods through the region,” he advised.
“The road upgrade will widen, strengthen and raise the height of the roadway to protect this important travelling and freight route to a 1 in 20-year flood event, which will improve safe access during times of flood and minimise productivity loss.
“The 2016 floods which closed this section of road to traffic for weeks on end, along with record drought and recent bushfires have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for natural disasters and boosting resilience, which is why we are backing this project.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro said the facility will further encourage the large number of people travelling to Lake Cargelligo and Condobolin for camping and water skiing to extend trips and stay in the Lachlan Shire, greatly benefiting the local visitor economy and lead to increased employment.
“The construction of a Visitor Information Centre at the junction of Lachlan Valley and Gipps Way will also encourage truck drivers, travellers and tourists stop for a break and make use of the new facilities,” he declared.
“Research has shown that providing information to visitors can encourage them to stay longer at a location, spend more money and experience more attractions, which will benefit both local businesses and the local economy.
“We all know the value of tourism to regional towns, particularly in light of COVID-19, and it’s great to see so many people returning to the regions during the school holidays, which means heads on beds in local motels and people dining in local restaurants.”
Mr Barilaro added work on the project is due to commence shortly, providing a stimulus to the local economy by providing work for local tradies, businesses and suppliers.
By Melissa Blewitt.