City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann has recommended the council move to compulsory acquisition. He is being supported by local manufacturers. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

BENDIGO’S manfacturers have backed the City of Greater Bendigo’s recommendation to move to compulsorily acquire 311 hectares of Marong farmland to build a business park, saying the region cannot be without it and risk losing business to other Victorian regional cities.

Bendigo Manufacturing Group chair Mark Brennan said without a new source of land for industry, “we risk losing jobs in the manufacturing, services and transport areas”.

“We know there are businesses locally, across the state and interstate that are looking to expand or relocate.

“Bendigo will not be an attractive option to them if there is no firm indication that appropriate industrial land will be available into the future.

“The need for Marong Business Park is as much about keeping businesses and jobs locally, as it is about welcoming new business.

“The advanced manufacturing industry in Bendigo is strong and has defied national trends, which have generally experienced a downturn elsewhere.

“Locally, the manufacturing industry is currently worth $2.25 billion and contributes eight per cent to the Bendigo economy.

“There is expected to be further growth in the advanced manufacturing sector in Bendigo over the coming years but this will only occur if there is an ongoing supply of industrial land, so the BMG wants to ensure that our local industry has the capacity to grow jobs into the future.

“Currently, there is no industrial land available that is greater than 22ha in size. We are aware of businesses that are factoring the Marong Business Park into their future planning and seriously considering moving to the site.”

The council identified the Marong land in 2004 and continue to believe it is the best option.

But landowners and farmers Max and Pauline Carter have consistently refused to sell the land, claiming the loss of 311 hectares out of their 800 hectare total landholding in that location would make the business unviable.

Councillors will vote on Wednesday night whether to go ahead with compulsory acquisition.