Shire’s growth potential

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Shire’s growth potential

By Jane Ross

SOUTH Gippsland Shire has a gross domestic product of around $2.3 billion a year.
And there’s opportunity aplenty for that to grow and grow.
Gross domestic product or GDP is the market value of goods and services produced.
Nestled between Wonthaggi with its major desalination plant construction site and the Latrobe Valley with its alternative brown coal industries potential, the shire is sitting pretty.
They key is to play the cards right.
Andrew McEwen is the council’s director of sustainability.
He told The Star that in the next 12 months, he and his staff will look closely at the opportunities and the gaps that can be filled.
There are two prongs to this: where are the leakages or money lost to the area and where can new businesses slot in?
Mr McEwen was commenting on the importance of supporting local producers; a topic backed by a feature in this week’s Star (see pages 38 and 39).
“The critical question is,” he said, “if someone spends a dollar locally, it can multiply two or three times that value over a year.”
Likewise, if a dollar is spent purchasing goods and services out of the area, that multiplies too and the loss becomes significant.
“It’s a whole issue of looking at maximising opportunity for local products and services.”
And, he explained, there are plenty of these.
The State Government is considering alternate uses for the Latrobe Valley’s brown coal such as biofertilisers, coal-to-oil and “clean” coal.
The plant and equipment for these fledgling industries is likely to be prefabricated and from Asia.
“Port Anthony (at Barry Beach) could be the only place where it will be shipped in.”
The $3.5 billion cost of the Wonthaggi desalination plant is, continued Mr McEwen “a significant amount of money over time”.
There will be light engineering opportunities to support that project.
The increasing cost of fuel could mean bulky goods industries setting up locally to reduce overheads.
“We need to provide opportunities for small scale production.”
Rampant growth in the neighbouring City of Casey, Pakenham and Cranbourne will spill over into South Gippsland.
“Also in Melbourne there is the debate on continuous sprawl. An alternate strategy is to take advantage of opportunities for growth to occur in the regions.
“That could be telling.”
The more so because it would be cheaper than providing the infrastructure that a continuously expanding Melbourne would require.
Mr McEwen said there is “a reasonable” amount of land left in Korumburra for industrial development, more needs to be found in Leongatha, but there is availability in Foster and Toora.
“More industry would be a boost to those smaller towns.”

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=136

Posted by SiteAdmin on Jan 12 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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