Mildura Weekly : Friday January 15 Vol 10 No 10
06 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016 By CAITLYN MORGAN MILDURA residents could po- tentially see a rapid increase in infrastructure and growth in housing estates with the recent $14million upgrade to the natural gas pipeline. The upgrade has provided Mildura residences and busi- nesses with an increase of almost 40 percent more gas from Angaston, SA. Mildura Development Corporation acting chief ex- ecutive officer, Jenny Garonne, said the increase will allow Mildura to be a primary loca- tion for manufacturing plants. “People were interested in Mildura, but without the sup- ply of natural gas, manufac- turing plants were unable to be built,” she said. “With the recent boost, Mildura is now able to be competitive. The gas shortage has been holding back the region, and holding back the future.” MDC acting chairman, James Golsworthy, said the boost will produce benefits to the region that will continue into the future. “Being able to attract in- dustry creates jobs and brings investment into the region that adds value to many of our existing primary industries,” he said. “But the benefits of natu- ral gas are more than that, because it is a cheaper energy source for households and it is an energy supply that is bet- ter for the environment. It’s a win-win all round.” Possible industries that may expand to Mildura in- clude pork and chicken manu- facturers, flour mills, pet food and abattoirs. Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said the boost will ben- efit the wider community. “By having an alternate gas supply, local businesses can expand and it will also bring new businesses which will both create more jobs for the district,” he said. “It also allows for new homes to have alternate ac- cess to hot water and heating in winter.” Australian Gas Networks chief operating officer, An- drew Staniford, said that close to 5000 homes in Mil- dura will now be able to con- nect to the natural gas pipe- line and enjoy the benefits, along with the rest of the community. “The Mildura natural gas pipeline upgrade has been three years in the making - from the time the Victorian Government and AGN first committed to the project - but the economic benefits to the local community will be around for many years to come,” he said. “As more home-owners and business and property owners come on line, plumb- ers will need to be employed to connect their properties, and more equipment and ap- pliances will be required, all of which contributes to the local economy.” DESPITE two months of weather ex- tremes in Sunraysia, the region’s dried grape crops remain in good shape ahead of the start of harvest early next month, according to the industry’s peak body. After a parched December that saw just 1.6mm of rain recorded at the Mil- dura weather station compared to the 22mm average, the district has experi- enced a wetter than average January so far. On January 4, more than 20mm of rain, including hail, fell in less than an hour. Dried Fruits Australia chairman Mark King said that despite the extremes of the past two months, he still expected a crop of between 18,000 and 20,000 tonnes for the region. “So far the crop doesn’t look too bad. We’re probably about seven to eight days ahead of schedule due to the heat and dry weather we had in December,” Mr King said this week. “And in terms of the rain and hail last week, I think most of it fell at the weather station. “Out here (Pomona) we had nothing, a lot of growers in Merbein and Robin- vale had nothing as well, so there’s been minimal impact in terms of the rain.” Mr King said fluctuating water prices continued to be a concern for some grow- ers, particularly in the wake of Decem- ber’s dry conditions. “I think most growers would have holes to fill in terms of their water alloca- tions,” he said. “Many growers would have sold off parts of their allocations in the past to re- duce debt or keep themselves afloat dur- ing the drought. “Several years ago, growers in that sit- uation would just buy what they thought they’d need at the start of the year, but now they just buy as they need as the market moves so much.” Mr King said temporary water prices had fluctuated between $250 and $300 a megalitre in the past two months. The other major factor which will impact on growers’ bottom lines is grape prices. The region’s major processor, Sun- beam, was expected to release its prices last night at its annual growers meeting. Fifteenth Street overhaul A MAJOR reconstruction on one of Mildura’s busiest roads will get under way next month. The $850,000 project will take up to six months to rebuild and resurface 600 metres of Fif- teenth Street between Deakin and Walnut Avenues. According to Mildura Ru- ral City Council, around 9000 vehicles use this section of Fif- teenth Street every day, making it one of the busiest roads in the region. Councillor for Infrastructure and Transport, Greg Brown, said upgrading the road would ensure it could withstand even more traffic in the future. “Over time, all roads deterio- rate, particularly those that are used as frequently as Fifteenth Street,” Cr Brown said. “This upgrade is a complete reconstruction and will see the road rebuilt from below the surface up, to provide a safer, smoother surface for motorists.” The works will also include the addition of a second lane to the Fifteenth Street and Dea- kin Avenue roundabout, which will allow two vehicles to enter the intersection at once, reduc- ing congestion and improving safety. A Council spokesperson said motorists should expect traf- fic disruption along Fifteenth Street for the duration of the project, which is scheduled for completion in July. Aside from local residents accessing the site to enter their properties, Fifteenth Street be- tween Deakin Avenue and Wal- nut Avenue will be closed for several months. • EXPECT DELAYS: Major roadworks will get under way next month on Fifteenth Street between Deakin Avenue and Walnut Avenue. Dried grape growers weather the extremes • Dried Fruits Australia chairman Mark King. Multi-million dollar natural gas boost • Member for Mildura Peter Crisp.
Friday January 8 Vol 10 No 9
Friday January 22 Vol 10 No 11