Billion dollar investment to boost Murraylands & Riverland over next four years

A major regional business report has found more than $1 billion in business and infrastructure investment is planned for the Murrylands and Riverland region in the next four years.

The investment is also expected to create over 1500 jobs.

The Regional Development Australia Riverlands and Murraylands (RDAMR) report was based on surveys of more than 160 local businesses, eight councils and six business associations.

Most notably, $1.022 billion is expected in infrastructure development (primarily wind and solar farms), while capital investment forecasts predict $124 million in business investment.

More than half of surveyed businesses are planning to grow in the next four years, with 40% of businesses with less than five employees expecting to hire more staff.

Retail development proposals are expected to exceed $14 million, while $50 million is expected in tourism redevelopments and upgrades.

RDAMR Chief Executive Jo Podoliak said the report shows a positive outlook for the region.

“Our interviews with businesses revealed strong confidence and resilience with most planning to expand, diversify or improve business efficiency.

“Investment is focused predominantly on plant and equipment, a good indicator of expansion, and staff to support these growth plans.”

However, she cautioned there were barriers to growth despite the positive forecast.

“Energy costs remain a constraint, especially when competing or exporting interstate. Water allocations for 2016/17 are at 100% but the variability and uncertainty inherent in the system is creating inefficiencies and limits to growth.

“Despite the predicted jobs growth, many businesses are experiencing difficulties in recruiting skilled and motivated staff.

“A collaborative effort between local businesses, the community and local, state and federal governments will also be required to make these expectations a reality for the region.”

The Murraylands and Riverland region makes up 4% of South Australia’s total population.

September 28, 2016