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March 5, 2021

State govt offers $4m for Ballina ‘innovation’ precinct

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L to R: Ballina Mayor David Wright, Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Manager of Commercial Services, Ballina Council Paul Tsikleas at the site of the new Southern Cross Innovation Precinct. Photo supplied

While the region’s roads continue to crumble, the Berjiklian government has found $3.95 million from the to create an ‘innovation and enterprise precinct’ on land owned by Ballina Shire Council near the airport.

Ballina Nationals candidate Ben Franklin says he hopes the site could be the future home of a previously mooted INXS Music Museum.

Deputy premier and minister for regional NSW John Barilaro joined Mr Franklin and Ballina mayor David Wright to announce the first, three-hectare stage of the development.

‘Positioning this precinct near Ballina airport, the second largest in regional NSW and still growing, will give businesses a tremendous advantage, providing them with convenient access to freight routes as well as arriving tourists,’ Mr Franklin said.

‘There is a great demand for more industrial land close to the airport and a number of potential business investors have already expressed interest in setting up their operations in the new innovation precinct.

‘This funding will enable preparation work to be undertaken, including earthworks, roadworks, storm water drainage, electrical, communications and water mains services, so businesses can begin building the day they move into the precinct.’

Mr Franklin said the proposed X Building, which could house the INXS Music Museum as well as an arts, business and entertainment hub, would provide a tremendous boost to the local tourism economy.

‘INXS took Australian rock to the world and captivated the planet for more than three decades, selling more than 55 million albums globally, and I look forward to seeing how plans for a museum paying tribute to them progresses,’ Mr Franklin said.

Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government was ‘taking action to provide businesses with the infrastructure they need to succeed, allowing them to focus on expanding their operations and creating new jobs’.

‘We are continuing to work with communities to invest record amounts of money into infrastructure and services so more people can realise the potential of our regions, and this innovation and enterprise precinct will do just that,’ Mr Barilaro said.

Development of the precinct, which will be co-funded by the Ballina Shire Council and the state government’s Growing Local Economies fund, is expected to be completed by 2020.


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  1. The article states the money is from Growing Local Economies not from the roads allocations – it would be unlawful to use it for a purpose it was not allocated to roads. Further, the funding will be spent in Ballina Shire which in the main does not have crumbling roads. Shires in NSW like Ballina should not be disadvantaged in funding decisions because neighbouring shires have failed to maintain their roads.

  2. This great for Ballina, usually Barilaro supports regional communities by moving their services to Sydney where they can be “managed more economically”.


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