Change at port to detonate explosion in jobs
TWO mystery men watched on while State Development Minister Anthony Lynham announced a 6000ha industrial precinct around the Port of Bundaberg today.
The men, investors from Victoria, where at the port to investigate relocating their manufacturing business to Bundaberg.
Dr Lynham said the inter-state interest was just the start of turning the port into an industrial powerhouse and Bundaberg into Wide Bay's economic growth hotspot.
"It's about jobs, jobs, jobs,” Dr Lynham said.
The State Development Area announcement includes land on the southern side of the Burnett River as well as a massive tract of agricultural land on the river's northern side.
Barubbra Island, at the entry to the port, has also been earmarked for development.
"This will make Bundaberg an attractive destination for new and existing business and industry looking to expand and invest,” Dr Lynham said.
The declaration allows the Co-ordinator-General to provide business with a one-stop shop to cut red tape speeding up government approvals to fast track development.
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the SDA would build on the many economic success stories coming out of the Wide Bay Burnett.
"With the Bundaberg Gas Pipeline and the Knauf plasterboard plant, our city and our region are starting to roll economically,” she said.
Bundy's SDA is one of 10 around the state. Another is Port of Gladstone.
Peta Jamieson, a director of Gladstone Port Corporation, which also controls Bundaberg Port, said it was great news.
"It's fantastic for the future growth of the port and I have been happy to work with the State Government on the move,” she said.
"It is a huge catalyst for Bundaberg and the region as a whole.”
The decision, two years in the making, follows technical investigations and public consultation last year.
Government officials now expect an increase in minerals and bulk commodity trade through the port, including sugar, silica sands and wood pellets, as well as new industries wanting to be near existing operators like Knauf.
The next step is establishing a development scheme for the area to guide decisions about land use and planning controls.
This is expected would be completed before the end of the year.
Business Bundaberg consultant Neil McPhillips said the announcement was another step in the right direction for boosting the region's economy.
"It was very coincidental that whilst the State Development Area announcement was being made by Minister Lynham and Mayor Dempsey this morning, I was showing the owners of a Melbourne-based manufacturing company the port facilities and infrastructure, as they are looking at establishing their business here,” he said.
"We are getting more and more enquiries like this and today's announcement will enable us to market and promote these opportunities even further afield.
"The company owners were surprised and thankful to be in a position to personally meet the Minister for State Development.
"It really is good news for our region.”