The Victorian Government is funding $17.4 million towards the Portland Economic Diversification Plan, including upgrades to key local freight roads, funding foundation infrastructure to help attract new businesses and funding local projects to grow the economy.

The plan includes $2.5 million for stage two of the Henty Employment Precinct, which will deliver important infrastructure to attract private sector investment, provision of gas infrastructure and improved NBN, which is due to start in late 2021. 

The new investment builds on a previous $1.5 million grant provided through the Regional Infrastructure Fund for stage one of the precinct, which included drainage works to prepare the site. 

The precinct’s development is being delivered by the Glenelg Shire, located in the South West region of Victoria, with works so far creating around 59 jobs in construction.

Stage two also includes the development of service roads to improve access to a proposed truck service centre and retail outlet next to the site. 

The service centre will enable heavy-vehicle servicing and retail facilities, providing 30 jobs across retail, mechanical repairs and other support industries.

$5 million will upgrade important freight roads across Glenelg Shire to improve access to the Port of Portland, also in the South West, including Mumbannar-Wanwin Road, Wilsons Road and Heathfield Lindsay Road.

Key infrastructure projects will be backed by the $7.5 million Portland Diversification Fund. 

“We are working with the Portland community to maximise jobs growth and support the region’s innovative business operators. It’s about building on existing strengths and investigating new opportunities for growth,” Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas, said. 

The Victorian Government will respond to priorities identified by council, businesses, industry, the Great South Coast Regional Partnership and the local community, to support job creation across a range of industries.

Regional Development Victoria (RDV) will establish a new office in Portland to work closely with all local people and organisations to identify suitable projects based on local priorities and opportunities.

RDV will help identify initiatives the fund can support over 2021, including skills training for growth industries, housing for workers, culturally inclusive industry opportunities and investment grants.

This plan comes with a funding agreement announced in early 2021, to help secure the future of Alcoa’s Portland Smelter, securing more Victorian jobs and protecting the local economy.

“The payoff for these important initiatives will come in the form of new jobs across Glenelg Shire and a strong, thriving community. We’re working to make the region an even better place to live, work and invest,” Ms Thomas said.

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