Press conference, Tamworth on ABC News Mornings

JOE O’BRIEN: We’re just going to leave that there because the Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has just begun a media conference. He’s in Tamworth.

BARNABY JOYCE:  It’s an absolute incredible honour to be the acting Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia again whilst the Prime Minister is over in the United States, and what’s great about that honour is I can take that office back to my home, your home, back to New England and make sure that we continue to do the job of driving regional Australia ahead. Right here in this precinct is another classic example of how we’re going to grow the City of Tamworth, a great example of how we’re growing regional Australia. And with the support, great support, from the state government, from the council and from the Federal government, we drive precincts like this forward.

It is also immensely important that we continue on with the construction of Dungowan Dam, and just recently I’ve had discussions with the Treasurer of New South Wales, Mr Perrottet, to see what we can do to expedite that process because this rests on water security. There’s a big difference between new water and water security. Water security is of the utmost importance in bringing businesses in. Whether it’s those abattoirs over there, it’s Baiada, they’re looking at investing over half a billion dollars, 1,100 new jobs, but they need the water security. And that’s one of the fundamental things that I believe governments should do – is drive forward with that agenda.

But away from that, in the last week I’ve started the process of approving $2.4 billion – $2,400 million – in the Narromine to Narrabri section of the Inland Rail – 306 kilometres, 630 culverts, 58 bridges, 17 viaducts. And why is that important to the City of Tamworth and this area? Because a lot of the culverts they’re producing they’re making here in this city, employing these people, bringing the jobs into this area. And that is of vital importance.

And above that we’ve got the North Star to Whetstone section of the Inland Rail, bringing this corridor of commerce, bringing the wealth west. And you’re seeing it here. You’re seeing us doing it. You’re actually seeing us build the City of Tamworth, build Parkes into a city, double the size of Narrabri. But this all rests on not just one item; a park by itself, an industrial park, is just an industrial park unless it has the commerce behind it. And commerce asks questions such as reliability of electricity, reliability of water, access to infrastructure. And that’s what we are doing here.

And so to work with my colleagues, to work with my state colleagues – Kevin – to work with obviously the Mayor, Col Murray – and I’m sure people such as Col, I know that he’s retiring, but we’re looking forward to Col doing other jobs and being still involved in both his local community and his nation in some form. And I congratulate him on all the work that he’s done for this great city and the growth that he’s stood behind in this great city over such a long period of time now. But working together, we’re going to make New South Wales stronger, we’re going to make regional Australia stronger. And in this instance, we’re going to make the City of Tamworth and the Peel Valley stronger.