Costa hints at aiding Port of Yamba upgrade
By TOBY WALKER
THE Carr Government will consider using public money to upgrade the Port of Yamba if redevelopment proposals by shipping operators are deemed viable.
A spokeswoman for Ports Minister Michael Costa yesterday responded to comments made last week about the inadequacy of the port's infrastructure by saying the government remained open to any plans to improve the facility.
"The State Government, through NSW Maritime, is continuing to support the Port of Yamba ... ," she said.
"Any such proposals should be supported by a detailed business case so that a full appraisal ... can be made before committing expenditure of public money."
The Carr Government said the $1.5 million spent to upgrade the Goodwood Island wharf, dredge the port's entrance and design a new patrol and tug boat berth had already indicated its commitment to trade through Yamba.
The government's comments were timely as representatives of Yamba's two main shipping operators ? Lord Howe Shipping Services Pty Ltd and Yamba Shipping ? this week met with the NSW Maritime Authority to discuss ways the port could be improved.
Yesterday Yamba Shipping managing director Roger Millard said the government's willingness to discuss the port's future was a positive outcome for local operators.
"We've been talking about dredging this river ... probably for the last 20 years and certainly on one or two occasions the government has been able to assist but on the whole all governments really only look at things when they can see some sort of return and benefit to the community," he said.
"So we're trying to look at the employment angle and the flow on effect of increased employment for the Clarence Val- ley."