The City is progressing plans for a new employment precinct south of the Marong township which aims to support new and expanding business in Greater Bendigo.
The City has purchased 155 hectares within the precinct, with the land being located between the Calder Alternative and Wimmera Highways. This site was identified as a potential employment precinct in the Marong Township Structure Plan adopted in September 2020.
Industrial land is in short supply across the Greater Bendigo region, with less than 10 years’ supply left. This was identified in the Greater Bendigo Industrial Land Development Strategy. This precinct is needed to meet Greater Bendigo’s long-term industry needs and it will be called the Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct (BREP).
The purchase of land was the first stage to develop the BREP. In February 2022 the Minister for Planning agreed to appoint the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) as the Planning Authority for the rezoning and associated planning of the BREP. Technical background studies and a master plan are required to inform a planning scheme amendment for the precinct, which will ultimately seek to rezone the land and enable the delivery of an employment precinct.
Frequently asked questions
The Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct will provide much-needed industrial land for new and existing businesses looking to expand or relocate to Greater Bendigo.
The need for a new employment precinct is significant as there is currently less than 100 hectares of available serviced industrial land in Greater Bendigo. That means less than 10 years’ land supply is left, which impacts our ability to attract and retain businesses. This new employment precinct is needed to meet Greater Bendigo’s long-term industry needs.
Bendigo Manufacturing Group has been advocating Council and government for many years now about the need for large, unconstrained parcels of industrial land to facilitate business investment and development in the region.
The Precinct will provide employment opportunities for a growing population with more than 3,000 jobs in industry forecast over the next 15 years.
With the Marong township forecast to grow to 8,000 people, the Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct will provide employment opportunities for a growing residential population.
The new employment precinct will be primarily directed at advanced manufacturing and logistics businesses. This project is supported by the business and manufacturing sectors in Greater Bendigo.
The 280-hectare site is located south of the Marong township along the Calder Alternative and Wimmera Highways, which provides links to Melbourne, Mildura and Adelaide. It is also located on the right side of Bendigo to access the freight rail links in western Victoria, which are currently being upgraded as part of the Murray Basin Rail project.
The City has spent the last two years going through a process of assessing market needs and then considering potential sites. The 155 hectares of land purchased was selected due to its proximity to a growing population, limited environmental constraints, access to transport links, its size, and the relatively small numbers of landowners.
The City had each property independently valued and then negotiated a fair and market-based price with the willing sellers. The purchase price is commercial in confidence information.
The City will seek State Government investment to help cover the costs of the early stages of developing the Precinct. This includes detailed planning and delivering critical infrastructures like access to power, water, drainage and roads.
It's intended that, outside of the above Government support, the Precinct development will be self-funded, with the sale of future industrial land covering the cost of initial land purchase, subdivision and development.
The City considered around 600 sites before selecting this site. The City has also given individuals an opportunity to put forward potentially suitable sites. After a detailed analysis of sites including infrastructure costs, accessibility, environmental and other constraints, the South Marong site has been determined as the most suitable site to progress plans for the Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct in Greater Bendigo.
Council is not looking to compulsorily acquire any land and will continue to work with the other landowners within the precinct as part of the formal planning process.
The VPA will appoint consultants to undertake various planning studies to inform a masterplan and rezoning of the land to enable the Precinct to develop.
The masterplan, rezoning and detailed planning studies associated with the Precinct’s development are expected to take approximately three years to complete, during which time the City will advocate for State Government investment in the project. It is hoped work to deliver essential services to the site will begin as soon as possible after that.
The City is not proposing a new landfill on the site.
Part of the planning will be to consider land use buffers, landscaping and access into the employment precinct to minimise any impact on nearby residents. The site will be primarily directed at advanced manufacturing and logistics businesses. The site will not be appropriate or zoned for uses such as abattoirs or other heavier industry which require greater buffers.
The City is aware of the importance of retaining existing vegetation to the Marong and broader community and this is a key consideration in planning for the future precinct.
VPA will work with the City will keep the community informed at key stages in the process. This will likely include website updates, mailouts and community information sessions. The community will have the opportunity to provide feedback once the planning studies are complete and a potential design for the site is prepared.
City officers can be contacted at any stage about the project via email [email protected] or 1300 002 642.
This site was identified as an industrial investigation precinct in the Marong Township Structure Plan, which was adopted by Council in September 2020. At this time, landowners surrounding the precinct were notified of this proposal directly.
Since this time, the City has been having discussions with the landowners within the precinct and State Government agencies, as well as undertaking further work to determine if this was the most suitable site for a future employment precinct in and around Greater Bendigo. Letters were sent to Marong residents once this site was determined to be the preferred location of the BREP.
The Marong Township Structure Plan was adopted in 2020. The next step is for a planning scheme amendment to implement this Structure Plan.
The Marong Township Structure Plan amendment will continue as the City commences detailed planning for the new employment precinct.
As part of the planning for the BREP, a Development Contributions Plan (DCP) will also be prepared for the Marong Township. The DCP will detail all key infrastructure required to service the towns future residential and employment development and confirm an appropriate levy ($/ha) to fund this infrastructure.