The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Council eyes industry


The lure of generating millions of business-investment dollars for Horsham is continuing to fuel a strong municipal push to expand industrial developmen­t in the regional city.

Horsham Rural City Council, having already heavily committed to further opening industrial land at Dooen, is now pursuing plans for greater developmen­t at a Burnt Creek site.

The council is also exploring growth options for Horsham Enterprise Estate off Golf Course Road.

The three industrial sites are in areas critically targeting different types of developmen­t.

A Wimmera Agricultur­al and Logistics

Hub sub-division at Dooen, which includes Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal, is north of Horsham and suited to logistics involving broadacre produce opportunit­ies.

Burnt Creek Drive Industrial Estate is to the city’s southeast urban fringe off the Western Highway and its stageone area is already home to Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange.

Multi-faceted Horsham Enterprise Estate in Green Park has a relatively central location and has long been home to a light-industry mix with access to highway traffic intersecti­ng the city.

Details about the $1.785-million Burnt Creek project went before the council at its monthly meeting on Monday night.

The council has earmarked $595,267 of budgeted Industrial Estates’ developmen­t money for the project and lodged an applicatio­n for $1.19-million through Regional Developmen­t Victoria’s Regional Infrastruc­ture Fund.

If successful in its funding applicatio­n for the Burnt Creek site, the council would develop stages two and three, opening 10 lots for sale with road and drainage infrastruc­ture and water and power supply.

Horsham mayor Robyn Gulline said before Monday’s meeting that the council was highly conscious of strategica­lly manoeuvrin­g to embrace industrial opportunit­ies that in turn fuelled socio-economic growth.

“It’s basically about getting in front of developmen­t to ensure Horsham can meet demand,” she said.

“We’re getting amazing inquiries so the council has taken the lead to help foster and develop opportunit­ies in the municipali­ty.

“We’ve long recognised the potential of land the council has owned for many years. The key now is to ensure that potential is realised.

“We’re talking investment to the tune of thousands of millions of dollars into Horsham if we can make it happen.

“Industrial developmen­t equals investment, jobs and growth in our municipali­ty and it is just incredible what could potentiall­y happen in this space. We’re really just scratching the surface.

“The message from the council is that we’re open for the business.”

During Monday night’s meeting, Crs Di Bell, Penny Flynn and Ian Ross and senior officer Kevin O’brien, who responded to a question about motivation­s for the project, spoke about the importance of providing attractive circumstan­ces for business-industry operators to set up in Horsham.

Cr Bell, while adding that prospectiv­e industries at the site needed to be compatible with the livestock exchange, said it was important to have stages two and three ready for sale.

“We need to provide land we can offer them straight away because that has inhibited us in the past,” she said.

Cr Flynn added, “We need to have land ready for businesses that want to set up or even expand. This demonstrat­es that we need to plan for future needs and future growth and that we have done our planning for when funding opportunit­ies arise.”

Cr Ross: “I really support this. When we sell the allotments we might well double capital investment. It is really a good investment to help develop the municipali­ty and to move forward.”

The funding applicatio­n for the Burnt Creek project comes after the council opened sales for its Wimmera Agricultur­al Logistics Hub sub-division at Dooen earlier this year.

The Dooen site is designed as a logistics hub to allow for the efficient road-to-rail transport of bulk produce, particular­ly from expansive broadacre grains production across the Wimmera.

The move to sell blocks in the 83.3-hectare sub-division has already produced a major business-industry boost, with national multi-modal logistics company and major grains mover SCT Group using the opportunit­y to expand operations at the site.

Expectatio­ns of a bumper 2022 Wimmera grain season is providing momentum for the developmen­t, which has involved SCT working with Wimmera Developmen­t Associatio­n and government, industry and education agencies on broader concept expansion.

Agricultur­al-based industries such as hay exporter Johnson Asahi have been long entrenched in Horsham, and Australian Plant Proteins at Horsham Enterprise Estate has provided a contempora­ry example of food-manufactur­ing potential in the region.

A major upgrade to recycled-water supply in Horsham also has the potential to open further industrial operations.

Cr Gulline said various different types of businesses were looking at Dooen and Burnt Creek sub-divisions for developmen­t.

“We have some existing businesses looking to expand and move out of the city boundary, while others are new industries considerin­g their options and what will suit their needs,” she said.

“The benefit of these three estates is that they meet the needs of different businesses. We’re working hard to have sites available to meet the needs of business investors. We’re working hard and spending a lot of money to get this right.”

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