POTENTIAL investments of almost $1 billion are on the books for Northern Grampians Shire Council.
Council’s May Economic Partnerships Report – presented to council at a meeting in St Arnaud on Monday night – shows 20 businesses with an investment potential of $990 million within the shire.
Mayor Kevin Erwin said the level of potential investment was one of the highest in Victoria.
“I doubt whether you’d find a shire with that sort of pending investment, so we’re pretty pleased with it,” he said.
A breakdown of which industries contribute to the shire’s economy was also in the report.
Cr Karen Hyslop said tourism had grown to be the fifth largest employment sector in the shire.
“The reality is Northern Grampians Shire is open for business.”Cr Tony Driscoll
“On our economic report card, there’s a section about tourism and the tourism sector in the Northern Grampians Shire contributes 10 per cent of total employment,” she said.
Cr Tony Driscoll said the Stawell Gift and Grampians Grape Escape were the two most significant tourism events for the shire.
“The benefit of tourism is $78 million in revenue between accommodation, cafes and restaurants. That is a massive amount of money,” he said.
“The reality is Northern Grampians Shire is open for business.”
Council’s chief executive Justine Linley said the shire was cautiously optimistic there would be significant economic growth in the future.
“There aren’t many shires in Victoria, let alone in western Victoria, that have that type of investment on their books,” she said.
“It makes us a little bit nervous too, because we know there’s a lot potentially riding on it.
“It can be a long road to get that calibre of investment put together.
“It often relies on international markets, monetary flows, where people are prepared to put their money and what level of confidence there is from investors.”
Mrs Linley said the details of many of the potential projects were subject to commercial confidentiality, but she was happy to discuss a possible wind farm development.
“There are some bigger projects that we are keen to follow through on,” she said.
“One of the large ones is a potential wind farm development at Bulgana, so that is a big ticket item.”
Mrs Linley said there was no planning permit lodged for the wind farm.