Goulburn paves the way for further development

POTENTIAL: Mayor Bob Kirk at the site of a proposed poultry processing plant at North Goulburn. Photo: David Cole.
POTENTIAL: Mayor Bob Kirk at the site of a proposed poultry processing plant at North Goulburn. Photo: David Cole.

Developers are knocking on Goulburn Mulwaree’s door like never before, says the council’s general manager.

A theme park, golf course resort and power projects are just some of the developments in the wind.

“We are meeting an average two or three developers a week who are thinking of relocating to Goulburn,” Warwick Bennett said.

“It’s a long, slow process as they do their due diligence but I have never in my local government career been involved in so many opportunities that we’re currently receiving.”

While only scant details are available on some at this stage, they include a theme park, golf course resort and a waste to energy project proposed by a Dutch company.

At Bradfordville, Mr Bennett said a company last Tuesday lodged a development application for a large glass manufacturing operation in leased premises. It promises up to 30 jobs. The council was also talking to Energy Australia about the possible resurrection of its gas fired power station near Marulan.

“The (Tribe) brewery (at South Goulburn) is well under control. the developments proposed are just outstanding and there are subdivisions galore,” Mr Bennett said.

The council took another step to enticing more at their most recent meeting. In March it applied for a $7.15 million share of the State’s Growing Local Economies Fund. The money, coupled with an estimated $670,000 in council section 64 water and sewer funds, would build infrastructure at North Goulburn for further growth. 

Councillors were told the bid had reached stage two and management was confident of success. 

If awarded, the funds would lay the ground for a $70m to $90m poultry processing plant in Common Street. Land owner and district poultry farmer, Ed Wehbe has lodged a DA with the State Government. Mayor Bob Kirk said another company wanted to establish a prefabricated concrete operation in Common Street. 

The funds would pay for road, water and sewer upgrades for Common and Sinclair Streets. It would also enable extension of communication, electrical and gas services and rezoning of the land to industrial.

Currently, the land is zoned B6 enterprise corridor.

Nearby, the council is also proposing a drill mud processing facility for its landfill and a reuse centre.

Mayor Bob Kirk said he had a broad picture of Mr Wehbe’s proposal. The application is only in preliminary stages.

“It’s a significant development and it will be a big employer, (estimated 150 jobs), providing a mix of low-skilled and technical positions,” he said.

“We’re very keen to see what’s finally proposed and for it to proceed, expecting that it covers all bases.”

The Mayor said the State funds would help fund infrastructure that would entice further growth to the North Goulburn industrial precinct.

“We know we put a good application up, such that it’s got to round two. We’ve had very good feedback on it, so there’s no reason to think that we won’t get (the funds),” he said.

The council must complete a business case, proving a cost benefit of greater than one. Mr Bennett’s report stated this could be proven. A “conservative” analysis estimated a $682m injection during construction for the area, $81m during operation, and 710 full-time jobs.

The council hopes to hear the application’s outcome by Christmas.

Meantime, Mr Wehbe said it was too early to talk in detail about his project.

“(But) I think the council is being very proactive. It’s a good council and they’re trying to promote Goulburn for corporates to come here. I assume they’re preparing themselves to do that because development drives employment,” he said.

“To do that they need to open up new land because they don’t have areas ready for large businesses...The funds are there to develop regional Australia and if they can get a slice of it, that’s good.”

Mr Wehbe said Goulburn had great potential but was “a work in progress.” It wouldn’t happen overnight but he believed the council was taking a positive approach.