The Golden Plains Food Production Precinct near Lethbridge is gearing up, with over $50M in direct investment already approved for development.
The Food Production Precinct is a 4,000 hectare area of privately owned, farm-zoned land to be transformed into a major regional hub of intensive agriculture that is forecast to create hundreds of jobs over the next decade.
Approved development so far includes $30M worth of free-range egg farms and a $20M fertiliser plant, which together see the Precinct achieving over 30% of its ten year investment target in the first 18 months of operation.
These developments will complement a number of other intensive agriculture operators already established in the Precinct.
Cr Helena Kirby, Mayor of Golden Plains Shire Council is delighted with the investment coming in. “The Golden Plains Food Production Precinct is a major project of Council, and has been in-the-making for quite some time, so it’s wonderful to see it attracting investment and taking shape."
“The poultry sector has been the main investor, which in turn is attracting complementary industry, such the fertiliser plant recently approved, which will utilise waste from intensive agriculture operators within the precinct."
“The Precinct is shaping up to do exactly what we set out to do – attract investors and create a hub of food production that creates jobs for locals and stimulates the local economy.”
Critical to the Precinct’s success is the 18km potable water pipeline, officially opened in May 2016. The pipeline was built as part of a partnership project between the Federal Government ($4.17M), the State Government ($2.94M), Barwon Water ($3.44M) and Golden Plains Shire Council ($1.23M). The new water pipeline was built to supply the region’s growing intensive agriculture industry – a business case shows that the water supply would attract $160M in investment and create more than 700 jobs over a ten year period.
75 megalitres of water from the new pipeline was committed for use during 2016-2017, with actual water usage sitting at 53.6 megalitres for the same period.
Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter said the availability of secure water supplies was a cornerstone of economic development and regional prosperity.
“The Golden Plains Food Production Precinct highlights the critical role water plays in supporting regional growth and development. We are extremely proud of the partnership we formed with Golden Plains Shire and state and federal government for this project and are pleased that it is already resulting in a significant boost to the regional economy.”