Community key in plan for Portland and Great South Coast21/05/2021
The community will be at the heart of the Victorian Government’s major new drive to create jobs and provide the conditions for businesses to thrive in the Great South Coast.
The $17.4 million Portland Economic Diversification Plan includes upgrades to key local freight roads, funding for crucial foundation infrastructure to help attract new businesses, and a fund for local projects to grow the economy.
The plan includes $2.5 million for stage two of the Henty Employment Precinct, which will deliver important infrastructure to help attract private-sector investment and is due to start later this year. Works at the precinct will include the provision of gas infrastructure and improved NBN.
The new investment builds on a previous $1.5 million grant provided through the Regional Infrastructure Fund for stage one of the precinct, which included drainage works to prepare the site. The precinct’s development is being delivered by the Glenelg Shire, and works have so far created around 59 jobs in construction.
Stage two also includes the development of service roads to improve access to a proposed truck service centre and retail outlet next to the site. The service centre will enable heavy-vehicle servicing and retail facilities, providing 30 jobs across retail, mechanical repairs and other support industries.
Nearly $5 million will upgrade important freight roads across Glenelg Shire to improve access to the Port of Portland and export opportunities, including Mumbannar-Wanwin Road, Wilsons Road and Heathfield Lindsay Road.
Key infrastructure projects will be backed by the $7.5 million Portland Diversification Fund. The Government will respond to priorities identified by council, businesses, industry, the Great South Coast Regional Partnership and the local community to support job creation across a range of industries.
Regional Development Victoria (RDV) will establish a new office in Portland to work closely with all local people and organisations to identify suitable projects based on local priorities and opportunities.
RDV will help identify initiatives the Fund could support over the next six months, including skills training for growth industries, housing for workers, culturally inclusive industry opportunities and investment grants.
Investment grants will be facilitated by RDV working with the council, businesses and industry to identify opportunities that will act as drivers for economic development.
This new plan comes on top of a funding agreement announced earlier this year to help secure the future of Alcoa’s Portland Smelter, securing more Victorian jobs and protecting the local economy.