Liberal Senator and federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham visited Watervale last week to speak with local community groups seeking federal support for projects.
The community meeting was attended by groups working on four different projects including the Clare Valley Sport and Recreation Precinct Project, Watervale Sports and Community Centre and Tennis Court Project, The Riesling Trail extension in Auburn and the sealing and lighting of the Clare Valley airstrip.
Each group took their time to explain their project’s objectives to Mr Birmingham, and the progress so far in terms of obtaining community and state government support.
"This is a very, very community minded area," Watervale Tennis Club president and Community Association member David Long said.
"It’s here, it’s ready to go, and as soon as we get federal support, it’ll be built."
Other representatives echoed similar thoughts, explaining their enthusiasm to get started and boost the local economical and tourism benefits by allowing the Mid North to reach its fullest potential.
"Here’s a community punching above its weight – and we will continue punching above our weight," Mr Long said.
Speaking to the Northern Argus, Mr Birmingham said he was excited to get to Watervale and meet with the groups face-to-face, and to see their enthusiasm in person.
While he explained from here on it would be a long process, Mr Birmingham said he would be doing as much as he could to promote the right projects for federal support.
While he would like to give all of the projects the greenlight, the selection process would see them go through a competitive evaluation.
“We will give it as much support and encouragement as we can,” Mr Birmingham said.
“I’ll certainly speak to the regional development minister about the projects and hopefully through all that encouragement, they come out of the competitive process with a thumbs up.”
While it was hard to single out one project in particular, completing the Riesling Trail would be high on Mr Birmingham’s list.
“I think finishing The Riesling Trail, which is iconic in terms of its impact (in) this region and is of course well known across the state, nation and wine circles right around the world, (is) a really valuable project,” he said.