THE JACK ATTACK
Mayor’s plans to extend scheme that brought $250m worth of investment
DESPITE Bundaberg receiving very little in the State Budget, Mayor Jack Dempsey has his own plans to see the region prosper, including extending the Open for Development initiative.
BUNDABERG’S slice of the State Budget pie appears to be kid-sized, but Mayor Jack Dempsey is determined to forge ahead with plans of his own to grow the region’s economic viability.
In an exclusive interview with the NewsMail yesterday, Cr Dempsey said Bundaberg Regional Council would look to extend its Open for Development incentive package for a second time.
If the recommendation goes ahead, it will inject millions into the Bundaberg region.
As of June 8, the council had received 145 applications, 128 of which met the eligibility criteria.
If these developments go ahead, it would represent a spend of $250m in building and civil works in the region.
It would bring 165 new residential units, almost 1000 new residential lots and about 400 short-term accommodation beds, all at a saving of $11.7m in infrastructure charges.
A review of the scheme was discussed at yesterday’s council briefing meeting in the hope of extending the application and completion dates.
The program has been implemented for two years and Cr Dempsey said it had brought many benefits, including work opportunities.
“We can have more jobs and training opportunities to enhance people’s skills going in to these other commercial retail sectors,” he said.
Cr Dempsey said while the state’s uptake of retail and commercial projects was 26 per cent, Bundaberg’s was three times that at 76 per cent.
“We have terrific uptake of projects right across the region, from Gin Gin, Childers, to our coastal areas and everything in-between.
“These are investments that are putting projects actually into bricks and mortar that are becoming real job creators for the overall community.”
Cr Dempsey said it sent a message to the rest of the country that Bundaberg was proactive about moving forward.
“We are not sitting on our hands and waiting for other levels of government to come and assist us,” he said.
“We’re out being proactive and ensuring Bundaberg can reach its full potential.”
Open for Development has four categories: rural development, the CBD, Gin Gin and Childers town centres and the core tourism area of Bargara.
The extension will be voted on at the next council meeting on June 26.
MORE PLEASE: Mayor Jack Dempsey backs an extension.