Econ­omy boom

Ma­jor projects to boost strong de­vel­op­ment trend

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

A de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic up­turn in Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil ex­pe­ri­enced last year, par­tic­u­larly in Jer­ilderie, is ex­pected to con­tinue.

The coun­cil is yet to spend its $8.5 mil­lion share of Stronger Com­mu­nity ma­jor projects fund­ing — made avail­able through the merger of the for­mer Jer­ilderie and Mur­rumbidgee shires — which will pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost to de­vel­op­ments this year.

It also ex­pects a 2017 trend to con­tinue, which saw a grow­ing num­ber of de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions and com­ply­ing de­vel­op­ments with in­creased in­vest­ment con­fi­dence.

Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil ex­pects to kick­start its ma­jor projects pro­gram this month.

At its De­cem­ber meet­ing, the coun­cil con­firmed $2.41 mil­lion will be spent in Jer­ilderie, $2.82 in Coleam­bally and $2.6 mil­lion in Dar­ling­ton Point.

Pri­or­ity projects for all towns have been sub­ject to fur­ther dis­cus­sion and gen­eral man­ager Craig Mof­fitt said the first of the funded projects was ex­pected to be an­nounced this month.

‘‘This year could be per­haps even more pos­i­tive than 2017 be­cause of those big ticket items, plus we have other projects we’re wait­ing on fund­ing for,’’ Mr Mof­fitt said.

‘‘We have de­cided to an­nounce the ma­jor projects one by one and we ex­pect we can make the first (an­nounce­ment) in Feb­ru­ary, with more in sub­se­quent months.’’

In terms of projects re­quir­ing de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion or com­ply­ing de­vel­op­ment con­sent in 2017, 50 were ap­proved across the whole coun­cil area.

Twenty of those oc­curred in Jer­ilderie, with a com­bined value of $2.88 mil­lion.

The largest sin­gle project re­quir­ing de­vel­op­ment ap­proval was val­ued be­tween $350,000 and $380,000.

While the num­bers are slightly down on the 2016 fig­ures — where $500,000 was the high­est value of 54 projects — Mr Mof­fitt said all signs point to an im­proved re­sult in 2018.

And he said de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions were not the only in­di­ca­tor of eco­nomic strength, with some projects not need­ing de­vel­op­ment ap­proval to pro­ceed.

‘‘We ex­pect to see an in­crease in in­dus­trial, in­fra­struc­ture and also com­mer­cial in­ter­ests,’’ Mr Mof­fitt said.

‘‘In Jer­ilderie, for ex­am­ple, we’re al­ready see­ing three new busi­ness start-ups in the main street.

‘‘It demon­strates that eco­nomic re­silience is be­ing ev­i­denced in a very prac­ti­cal way within the small busi­ness/re­tail sec­tor.

‘‘The up­swing in man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­struc­tion that is ev­i­denced in Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics data in­di­cates some di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion away from agri­cul­ture, and this is strength­en­ing the econ­omy.’’

One of the larger scale de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions ap­proved by Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil in 2017 was stage two of the Wun­na­murra Es­tate sub­di­vi­sion project.

Mr Mof­fitt said the con­struc­tion phase in­jects dol­lars into the town through the pur­chase of fuel, and morn­ing teas and lunches for sub-con­trac­tors work­ing on site.

He said the flow-on ef­fects to lo­cal sub­con­trac­tors also pro­vides a wel­come eco­nomic boost.

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