Council to reallocate airport cash

January 04, 2018

Edward River Council will soon start the process to reallocate $750,000 in Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme funding.

The allocation granted to Ennor Engineering for a new and expanded facility at Deniliquin Airport has been relinquished by the company.

It has also prompted council to abandon a proposal for land sub-division at the airport to accommodate the project.

Ennor Engineering owner and managing director Craig Ennor has declined to make any comment regarding the decision to put the expansion on hold.

As reported in August this year, the business had planned to build a new factory to replace its Barham Rd facility which Mr Ennor previously indicated they had outgrown a number of years ago.

The project had the capacity to create at least nine new full-time jobs.

Edward River Council Mayor Norm Brennan said as the diversification programme funding was initially allocated to Edward River Council, the money for the project defaults back to the council to redistribute.

‘‘We will go through the process of reallocating the funds,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘The Department of Premier and Cabinet is comfortable with what we are doing so far.

‘‘We intend to review the unsuccessful applications previously supplied to council, but we also know there are a number of new initiatives which could benefit from this funding.’’

Council was awarded $3 million under the Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme in June 2016. In August this year, it announced five recipients.

In addition to Ennor Engineering, funding was allocated to the establishment of a transport heritage museum by Purtills, the Navorina Nursing Home and the Deniliquin Children’s Centre expansion projects and the development of a Deniliquin senior housing facility being pursued by Edward River Council.

With the Ennor Engineering project now shelved, council has also decided to redistribute $400,000 set aside in its budget for a sub-division at the airport to accommodate the project.

Cr Brennan said it was likely to fund priority projects in council’s Roads to Recovery Program.

‘‘Council has worked cooperatively with the proponent throughout this process to assist in facilitating the expansion of the local business, however with the project now on hold, we have decided not to pursue this agreement further at this stage,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘Council is responsible for maintaining the urban and rural road network, and by not proceeding with the Deniliquin Airport sub-division at this stage, we will be able to instead focus on delivering additional road infrastructure projects.

‘‘Council recently engaged leading professional services firm KPMG to prepare a business case to assist us in determining the feasibility of extending the airport runway, and given the deferral of the sub-division, it is appropriate that we wait for the completion of this business case before pursuing any further development opportunities at the site.’’

KPMG is expected to complete the Deniliquin Airport runway extension business case by March.

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