David Downie looking ahead to big 2018 for the Northern Midlands

BIG YEAR: Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said he was pleased that pokies had been an election issue. Picture: Paul Scambler
BIG YEAR: Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said he was pleased that pokies had been an election issue. Picture: Paul Scambler

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie has foreshadowed a “big” 2018 for municipality construction, with $16 million of capital expenditure budgeted for the year.

Included among the council’s priority projects is the Perth structure plan, Longford urban design strategy and the TRANSlink precinct renewal program. 

However, the council still requires significantly more funding for its list of long-term infrastructure projects, according to Cr Downie. 

He said the council was in the midst of ongoing talks with both major political parties about acquiring extra project funding.

“We’ve got a list of priority projects, throughout the municipality, that we’re presenting to various people,” he said.

“I have a good feeling about [getting funding] – we’re receiving positive feedback and the politicians are keen to meet with us.

“We get the feeling they realise these projects are important.”

The Northern Midlands mayor also provided an update on the ongoing roadworks in the municipality, saying that the Macquarie Road portion of the upgrade was now completed, with works on Barton Road underway. 

The $50 million upgrade for key Northern Midlands roads began in 2014, and includes the creation of a four-lane section of the Northern Midlands Highway. 

Cr Downie said the difference in the quality of the local roads was noticeable. 

“I went down to Hobart on the weekend and all the roads are open to the full speed limit south of Epping Forest, and they’re steadily working on the ones up here,” he said.

“lt will be great when it’s all finished.”

Cr Downie commented on the pokies debate, saying he was glad the topic had become an election issue. 

He would not say if he supported Labor’s proposal to ban the machines in pubs and clubs by 2023.

“I think that it’s obvious something has to be done with the pokies in Tasmania,” he said.

“The machines [are] set up so the odds are against he player, and they’re highly concentrated in low socio-economic areas.

“It’s great that both parties have brought it to the fore.”