Mayor puts store in archival project

MAYOR Geoff Kettle has vowed the city’s archive project would continue regardless of the outcome of Council’s Regional Development Australia Funding (RDAF) application. 

For the past six months Council has been working with a consultancy firm, Laterals Projects, to put together both a feasibility study and business case to make Goulburn an archival storage hub for the national memory.

The pair has been in discussions with cultural institutions, at both a state and federal level, and said they were making real progress.

In December, Council applied for Round Four RDAF and pledged $1.2 million in cash and in-kind toward the bid if it was successful.

However, the Mayor says the city isn’t going to sit on its hands. The business case being developed isn’t an academic study but a functional model that will be used to attract investment in Goulburn.

Collections are growing at a rate of between 2km and 40km per year. The cost of storage in metropolitan areas is also becoming increasingly expensive and redundant due to digital archiving. Goulburn is well equipped to deliver the project.

“If the RDAF bid is unsuccessful we are going to keep going because we have established that there is a need (for this type of facility) at both a state and federal level and we can provide necessary savings,” he said.

“(Hosting archival storage) would not only benefit the nation but it will benefit us here locally.”

Cr Kettle said the project would create skilled jobs and training opportunities. How many would depend on the number of institutions they could attract and what type of facility was built.

The business case will be completed in April however Laterals director Katherine Armstrong was not able to divulge what institutions had been approached. She was also not able to discuss the amount of money currently being spent on metropolitan storage or the types of savings Goulburn could deliver.

She said these details were commercial in confidence and that revealing them would damage the trust relationships being developed.

Ms Armstrong said inroads had been made and that her team was now having open dialogues about a wide range of issues including size, security, transport, skills and most importantly how much it would cost.

Expressions of interests were recently called for landowners proposing potential sites; four were received but Ms Armstrong told the Post she could not say which sites were being considered. She said they ranged in size, location and potential. All four will be considered and one will be selected based on the facility’s requirements and other economic factors.

Both Mayor Kettle and Ms Armstrong believed Goulburn had to present a united front as a progressive, cultured, intelligent city that could deliver outcomes.

Deputy Mayor Bob Kirk said Goulburn’s geographic advantage, specifically its close proximity to both Canberra and Sydney – had long been known and he wanted to see it finally put to good use.

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