A new draft industrial land development strategy to guide future supply and development has been endorsed by City of Greater Bendigo councillors.

Director of Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the city was working with the Victorian Planning Authority on the Draft Greater Bendigo Industrial Land Development Strategy.

The draft will provide a framework to meet the changing needs of businesses in the region and support future job opportunities.

“Greater Bendigo is an important leading hub for major employment and an industrial centre for the broader Loddon Campaspe region,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Times have changed quite significantly since the last strategy was completed in 2002. This new strategy will provide a proactive direction for the development of industrial land in Greater Bendigo so that the municipality is in a strong position to accommodate businesses wanting to relocate here and those wanting to expand existing operations.”

The city wants to zone additional land for industrial purposes in the hope of attracting new industries and helping existing businesses grow to support more than 3300 new jobs by 2036.

“Our current industrial land supply is forecast to run out in around 14 years, if all land currently classified as available can be used,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Much of this land is too close to residential development, not well located or inadequately serviced, which could mean Greater Bendigo misses out on jobs that will go to other regional cities instead.”

Approximately 170 hectares of industrial land will be needed by 2036, with 120ha of “available” land at present, although in smaller lots, heavily vegetated, inadequately serviced or close to residential development.

The location of new industrial land is to be determined.

Mr O’Sullivan said alongside the draft strategy process, the city was also inviting landowners to participate in an expression of interest process to determine if there could be land available that might be appropriately zoned for future industrial land use.

“This is a voluntary process and we’d like to hear from landowners with land that meets a set of specific land criteria and who may be thinking about their property’s future use,” he said.

“The land criteria involves large blocks of land greater than 30 hectares within 15km of the city centre or greater than 100 hectares located further than 15km from the city centre.

“If the property meets the first stage criteria, further assessment will be required and we will work closely with willing landowners throughout later stages to see if the land is suitable.”

NICHOLAS NAKOS