THE JACK AT­TACK

Mayor’s plans to ex­tend scheme that brought $250m worth of in­vest­ment

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA REID emma.reid@news-mail.com.au

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.

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