Dubbo-based airlink needs mining support

Campaigners for a Dubbo-based interstate air service say they have the backing of a national airline to run the flight operations.

The ABC reported that Dubbo City Development Corporation (DCDC) general manager Rorque Poisson said the support of mines is vital, following a survey of communities including Orange, Molong, Forbes and Parkes that showed strong support for the service.

“It’s been suggested that I talk to the mining industry just to confirm their interest and availability in getting involved as stakeholders to underwrite the pilot,” he told the ABC.

Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) contracts, where workers are flown to a mine to work about 10 consecutive days, before being flown back to a home base for days off has been attracting much debate in the mining sector lately.

He said the backing of mining companies will be important in ensuring the financial viability of the service, and he is confident there will be high demand from mining executives.

“It’s a case of economics,” he said.

“If you’re living in Orange, Molong, Parkes, Forbes et cetera and you’re trying to get to Melbourne it only makes sense to drive to Dubbo.’

"So we believe that they’ll be tremendous amount of interest.

"We’ve really seen that just with the very last survey sample."

The DCDC has held discussions with a New South Wales company to runt he air link from the Central West city to Brisbane and Melbourne.

The issue of mining has been an increasingly prevalent issue in the central west, and the front page of The Daily Liberal yesterday featured a story about the delay in starting the Cobbora mine, which Mayor Alan Smith said would have dire financial effects on the community.

He told the paper the mine could have been as beneficial to the community as the Fletcher International abattoir for employment and economical impacts in the region.

Smith said the $1.5 billion coal mine would have been “generational” because it would have employed up to 1700 workers for what he said was an expected 35 year life span for the mine, which would have an annual output of 30 million tonnes per year.

The Cobbora mine’s start date has been pushed back until 2015 by NSW electricity generators and Macquarie Generation, Delta Electricity and Eraring Energy have said the decision by state government to hold an electricity enquiry and the demand for coal were behind the delay.

Barry O’Farrell has promised to hold an inquiry into the state electricity sale, proceeds of which were expected to fund the Coborra project, in his first 100 days of office.


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