12 December, 2020
Gilgandra Shire Council says its planned industrial precinct is already attracting interest
The planned GraniCorp Industrial Subdivision is a development that Gilgandra Shire Council (GSC) is hoping will attract new and existing business meaning more jobs in the shire. Given that industrial land with immediate Newell Highway access is scarce, the council is confident the site will quickly be filled. But the development is being stung by a biodiversity offset scheme that GSC's Randall Medd says is hampering regional development.
Gilgandra Shire Council (GSC) are in the midst of preparing their last remaining section of industrial land in a bid to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. The developments come as a result of state funding under the Inland Rail Ready program to the tune of $3.9 million.
What will be known as the ‘GrainCorp Industrial Subdivision’, will be the site of what council hopes is a thriving industrial precinct that will capitalise on the Inland Rail Project and pre-existing interest from companies looking to establish themselves on the Newell Highway.
GSC’s inland rail project manager Randall Medd said that industrial land near the Newell Highway isn’t easy to come by which makes the development an attractive location to both local and external business.
“There just aren’t large chunks of industrial land available along the Newell Highway at this point, the combination of highway frontage and greenfield development is definitely something that businesses are looking for.”
GSC’s hope is to have plots available for sale by late 2021, but Mr Medd said that progress on the development application has been hampered by the controversial biodiversity offset scheme.
“We originally wanted blocks to be available earlier than that, but we’ve had some holdups with environmental issues like the biodiversity offset scheme. It’s a very complex process and it’s affecting a lot of developments throughout NSW at the moment, in the regional areas.
“The state government are working through how to make it more appropriate and still achieving the environmental outcomes not at the detriment of job creation and new businesses and things like that.
“It’s probably not working in the favour of development in regional NSW at the moment."
"It just so happens that we’re one of the projects that’s in the middle of it, but if you go to any town in NSW there’ll be at least one project dealing with the same issue.”
Mr Medd also said that council felt that the selling of all the blocks in the Gilgandra Industrial Park (GIP) indicated that having developed industrial land available attracted businesses. He also said the strategy behind the development isn’t necessarily an all-in bet on inland rail.
“We’ve proven that if you have it available, the opportunities will come along. It’s not specifically just inland rail, to attract new industry or allowing existing industry to grow, you need to have the land because as that’s the last zoned piece of land available for greenfield development, individuals, businesses unless they’re doing a major development, struggle with all the infrastructure to go with that
“But we definitely do have strategies around who we’re targeting and what types of businesses that are looking at land. Agricultural related businesses, manufacturing, trucking and transport, fuel and local expansion are all among the types of business looking at the land.” Mr Medd said that the actual design of the industrial precinct was yet to be decided, but that blocks would likely be significantly larger than those at the GIP.
“We haven’t locked in sizes or anything like that we’re still going through the development application preparation, but the aim is to have substantially the larger blocks then what’s been developed in Gilgandra in the past. It’s ambitious but it’s in response to the types of developments that we’re getting enquiries about or working with people on,” he said.
“As an example, we’re currently finalising the sale of four lots in the Hargraves Lane for one development. So, someone wanted to buy four lots, that’s 16,000 square metres. The development of the blocks will give us more flexibility to carve off what’s required rather than set sizes because the issue with that is, if you set block size and put in all the infrastructure, and then have to amalgamate all your blocks its far more costly.”
Current designs that have been shown to the public through community engagement sessions are not necessarily the final design but are in fact in place to establish yield potential of the site. This is done so that council are aware of how much saleable land they have available on the site.
“The final design we’ll come closer to, once we finalise things like a servicing plan which is roads, water, sewer, power, and how all that aligns, and then you look at how we divide it up. But definitely trending towards the larger size,” said Mr Medd.
Details on the changes to roads surrounding the area of the development will be released over time with GSC hoping to receive local feedback on proposed changes.