Special job precinct set to turbocharge Richmond Valley economy

RICHMOND Valley Council has welcomed Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s announcement that it will be the location for the next Regional Job Precinct, the second of four precincts which are part of the NSW Government’s bush-led recovery from drought, floods, bushfires and COVID-19.

Regional Job Precincts are designed to cut red and green tape with a 30-day target for planning approvals. Each precinct will maintain the local appeal and amenity of the area so economic and job growth doesn’t compromise the lifestyle locals love.

In welcoming the news, Mayor Robert Mustow said he was pleased the Richmond Valley was chosen to be part of the Government’s program, which would help keep people employed and communities supported.

He said it was hoped the Richmond Valley Regional Job Precinct would provide direct and indirect jobs for many years to come.

“During our many community engagement sessions, Richmond Valley residents identified economic development as the cornerstone for a prosperous future,” Cr Mustow said.

“It is pleasing to see Council’s efforts in pursuing the community’s wishes have been recognised and rewarded in this exciting announcement.

“With our region having been hit hard economically by drought, bushfires, flooding and COVID-19, the opportunity to establish a Regional Job Precinct is very welcome.

“As Mayor, I am proud Richmond Valley Council has this opportunity to show local and regional-wide leadership, and highlight the important and vital role councils can play in job creation, and future-proofing local economies.

“I thank the NSW Government for identifying the Richmond Valley as the next precinct and the ongoing funding support it provides.

“This plays an important part in assisting Council to keep rolling out services to support our existing businesses and our communities, as well as attracting new enterprises.”

General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said he was excited to see this additional economic stimulus to drive further growth in the Richmond Valley.

“The Regional Job Precinct will provide opportunities for current employers looking to expand operations, and for new investors looking to invest in the region,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Best of all, it complements the goals in Council’s Guide to Economic Development in the Richmond Valley, the Imagine – 2020 and beyond Supporting Progress in the Mid Richmond booklet, and our Community Strategic Plan to create long-term job growth in the local area.”

Mr Macdonald said Council was focused on creating an environment which encouraged new business and supported existing operators.

He said the Richmond Valley already was a leader in primary industries and food manufacturing enterprises, with the Sunshine Sugar Mill located at Broadwater and Casino Food Co-op and Richmond Dairies at Casino, however, he said much more could be achieved with Council, governments and businesses working together.

He said Council had worked hard to cultivate the right conditions for local employment opportunities and growth, and was now in a position to start securing future investment.

“Council was successful in getting a $9.969 million grant, from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the NSW and Australian governments, which is being spent on the construction of road, water, sewer and power services to develop 46ha of industrial land in Casino,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Known as the Casino Industries Activation project, it will establish a strong case for businesses to locate to the Richmond Valley, in particular manufacturing businesses.”

Mr Macdonald said Council was working with proponents on a number of exciting proposed projects which would leverage the Valley’s strengths.

These include:

  • SANA Nutraceuticals $220m medicinal cannabis project, which will create up to 300 new jobs and has the capacity to make a turnover up to $1 billion. With Office of Drug Control licences now secured for cultivation, manufacture and research, this project represents a significant step-change opportunity for the regional economy.
  • A site for an alternate waste treatment facility to service the region’s landfill  waste.
  • Terra Hemp Co – $5.25m hemp food and oil hub for the cultivation, production and manufacture of hemp-related products.
  • A state-of-the art bio-energy generator at the Casino Food Co-op, the North Coast’s largest meat processor.
  • 270ha Casino Rail Freight Terminal for integrated agricultural commodities, logistics and agri-business.
  • Pacific Intermodal rail and road integrated industrial park.
  • Activating new residential developments across the Valley.

Mr Macdonald said Council would continue to work closely with the Federal and State governments, along with existing and interested investors, to deliver projects and capitalise on investment opportunities.

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