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Central Otago could see 200 extra jobs as Govt looks to fast track lines upgrade

Central Otago could be set for up to 200 extra jobs as the Government looks to fast track an important lines upgrade.

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Up to 200 jobs would be created by the project. Source: 1 NEWS

Environment Minister David Parker announced today that Transpower’s Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines project will be the first to be referred for a newly created consents process to speed up certain projects.

"It could be years quicker than would otherwise be the case," Parker said. "This covers a lot of councils. It goes all the way from Roxborough over into the McKenzie Basin, up around Twizel. So it’s less complicated because they’re all considered at the same time rather than by separate councils."

The lines upgrade still has to go through by a panel of experts but Parker said it is likely to be approved.

The new process is part of the Government’s plan to bring forward large infrastructure projects that create jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Up to 200 jobs could be created if the project goes ahead, with a temporary village constructed to work on the project near Naseby.

Parker said the downturn of tourism in the area meant jobs like these were even more important and that 150-200 jobs was "a lot of pay packets being spent weekly".

"The secondary effects of that, of course, are all the businesses that rely upon people’s wages to keep going. So the knock on effects of this will be substantial in the region."

If approved, the upgrade will increase capacity on the lines between the Otago-Southland region and the Waitaki Valley.

The lines would also transport electricity generated by the proposed Lake Onslow hydro scheme near Roxburgh, if the project is viable.