Member for Morwell Russell Northe used Question Time in Parliament this week to call upon the State Government to provide meaningful support for economic recovery to the Latrobe Valley, in this year’s important Budget. He has used the opportunity to publicly release his commissioned report, regarding how our local economy could be stimulated and encouraging valuable developments in the region.
“I’ve been in contact with numerous developers, builders, contractors and investors in the local area who are frustrated over many, many years in getting projects off the ground in our community” Mr Northe began.
“There are several large-scale projects that are set to transform our area and boost viability, provide valuable jobs and infrastructure that have sat idle for multiple years on account of essential services connection costs” Mr Northe continued.
“That’s why I engaged a Parliamentary Intern to investigate and report on this significant problem and to provide recommendations for the Government to consider in fixing this ongoing issue” Mr Northe said.
Unlocking these developments could provide much-needed jobs and construction and improve investments capabilities in the Latrobe Valley, particularly given the past failures to deliver on investments such as the proposed electric vehicle manufacturing plant for Morwell.
Shovel-ready projects like those at Lake Narracan and Morwell East Industrial precinct are currently waiting for connections for water, sewerage, and roads with costs providing a significant barrier to progress.
These issues are found across the country but as the research shows, there are ways to mitigate this that the State Government could implement.
“Miss De Koker has presented a brilliantly researched paper that shows how this issue denies Latrobe Valley of valuable development and provides excellent recommendations” Mr Northe said.
“Her findings clearly show what I have argued for years – we need to do more to promote these opportunities of progress. Now that several State investments have fallen over, these funds should be now redirected towards projects that are ready to go and already endorsed by Latrobe City Council”.
The three key recommendations include adopting the Building Acceleration Fund 2020 model that has been implemented in Queensland. With a history of delivering these kinds of funds, the Queensland Government’s model is an excellent program to circumvent these issues.
“The Building Acceleration Fund offers a support via co-investment strategy including zero interest loans to Council’s and Developers, to overcome these obstacles in getting approved projects up and running” Mr Northe said. “These are the very sorts of initiatives that the Latrobe Valley Authority should be empowered to deliver”.
“I would love to see this kind of program be implemented in Victoria and have this week advocated to the Government to consider either reallocating funding from their proposed electric vehicle manufacturing plant, or urgently instigate a Victorian Building Acceleration Fund” Mr Northe added.
“The Government must act decisively to somehow support already improved developments that have sat idle for years. Some of these projects could be shovel ready in the immediate future should the Government break the infrastructure barrier impasse that exists with projects such as the Lake Narracan precinct structure plan and the Morwell East Industrial precinct plan” Mr Northe concluded.
You can read a copy of this important research in the link below
The author of the report, Miss De Koker is available for comment on 0413 729 320