Energy into renewables

The owners of this masthead have very generously extended to me the opportunity to contribute on a regular basis.

I look forward to being able to use this opportunity to write about issues that are affecting our region.

As has been reported elsewhere in this edition, our council on Tuesday formally committed funding to initiate the development of a local industrial precinct utilising renewable and green energy.

A major decision by council, one that has been taken after an extended period of consultation, reflection, and expert advice; it has been primarily undertaken with the intent to be a catalytic investment.

The enabling investment will provide the basis for a diversification of the Barcaldine Regional Council area economy, with the return on investment over time being twofold; dividends from the precinct venture and enhanced rate return and local development.

It supports a manufacturing industry, an industry that will allow for the diversification of our local economy and support the traditional base (agriculture) without being reliant on the weather or subject to seasonal constraints.

Further decisions on investment now rest with the state government and other private companies so watch this space for more developments in coming months.

State-controlled roads in the Barcaldine Regional Council Area have received considerable funding for capital upgrades in the last 18 months, with both state and federal government contributions.

Due to the accelerated timeframes attached to certain projects as a result of the funding being released as stimulus works, it has meant that funding for the first time in a long time has almost gotten in front of design and planning.

However, in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads who have also had to work at a feverish pace, our road construction crews have now delivered three projects of work on or ahead of schedule.

This is a remarkable feat, testimony to the commitment and dedication of our crews who have consistently worked overtime periods and weekends to deliver what had been labeled by some as an unachievable schedule.

My thanks not only to our team but to the department for trusting in them and our processes to be able to step up and meet their targets.

This should now mean we remain eligible for the third tranche of funding packages which are due to be released later this month.