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Loddon Shire disappointed by Marong Business Park decision

Released on 11 July 2018

Loddon Shire Council has expressed disappointment regarding the decision by the Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to decline the City of Greater Bendigo’s application for a Public Acquisition Overlay for land identified for the Marong Business Park.

Mayor Cheryl McKinnon said Council recognised and admired the long-term commitment of the current land owners of the site, their lengthy association with the land and their wish to continue to farm the Marong property.

“Indeed, the fabric of Loddon Shire centres around agriculture and farming-based activities, so the desire for continuation of the farming enterprise is understood,” Cr McKinnon said.

“However we do need to focus on the greater good. This is not just a matter for today, it is the future of the Bendigo region that we are talking about and the opportunities for future generations in our communities. 

“This includes opportunities for jobs, opportunities for families and opportunities for the broader economy,” Cr McKinnon added. 

“Bendigo is well serviced with quality infrastructure – a new hospital, great tertiary education facilities and a recently redeveloped airport. These are just some of Bendigo’s attributes which make it a desirable place to live. Therefore, we need to be far sighted in providing complementary business development opportunities.”

Cr McKinnon said the proposed Marong Business Park was considered to be a major driver for economic and residential growth for Loddon Shire, and would particularly impact positively on a number of small towns located within close proximity to Marong. 

“It is seen that the Business Park’s employment and population growth potential that is predicted will generate demand in Bridgewater, Inglewood, Serpentine and Newbridge, to name a few of our small towns,” Cr McKinnon said.

“These towns would provide alternative accommodation options to meet some of the demand generated by the Business Park with flow-on beneficial economic impacts to the Loddon community. 

“It is also disappointing that the opportunities that new commercial undertakings in the Business Park, which would have value-added to Loddon’s agricultural outputs, are now not going to be realised.”

Loddon Shire’s Chief Executive Officer Phil Pinyon said beyond the local drivers for the Marong Business Park, there were cogent reasons for supporting the initiative from a state-wide perspective.

“Metropolitan Melbourne is under continual growth pressure and the solution of encouraging decentralisation to address this problem has been given support from a wide range of interests,” Mr Pinyon said.

“Unfortunately this decentralisation opportunity now appears to have been thwarted.

“Over many years the City of Greater Bendigo has explored a range of alternative sites and has been unsuccessful in identifying a suitable alternative taking into account numerous site selection criteria.
 
“This appears to be an opportunity lost.”

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