Mr Walsh (Murray Plains) (19:00:20): (1121) My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Planning, and it is on behalf of Brownport Almonds Pty Ltd of Hattah, who have written to the Minister for Planning. It is to ask the Minister for Planning to call in Brownport Almonds’ planning application to build a new almond processing plant at Hattah. Brownport has approval from the Mildura city council, it has approvals from VicRoads, it has approvals from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and it has approvals from the CFA, but there is an objection from one neighbour who actually lives 5.6 kilometres away from the proposed processing plant. Brownport Almonds have invested in 5000 hectares of almonds. They currently employ 120 people at their site at Hattah. Their 2020 harvest will produce something like 10 000 tonnes of almonds, with a potential income of nearly A$100 million. This project is time sensitive. They are investing something like A$63 million in the processing plant, and it needs to be onstream for this year’s harvest. If it is not onstream for this year’s harvest, there will not be enough processing capacity for the industry, and because of the time critical nature of processing—and later in the season, weather damage—almonds could actually not be of the quality that they prefer being processed. When this plant is up and running it will employ an additional 30 people at that particular site and create something like 100 casual jobs during the processing season. It will process product worth about $250 million. I would like to emphasise to the minister and to the house that this particular project actually has no government subsidies. It is all Brownport’s investment. They just want the opportunity to get on and invest this money to build this processing plant so that they can actually process this year’s harvest. As I have said, there is a risk to the quality of the almond harvest if it is not built in time to be done. They believe that the one objector has effectively a frivolous objection, and they would like the minister to call in this planning application—the machinery is already there—so that this project can actually be built and be ready for this year’s almond harvest.
Category: ParliamentBy Peter Walsh MP
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