Future looks green

THE Murrumbidgee shire is on the brink of becoming a major ethanol hub with a $3 million development given the go-ahead this month and two more ethanol plants in the pipeline.

The $3 million development on Bull Road, Coleambally is the brainchild of local farmer Larry Walsh and aims to use crop by-products to produce the alternative fuel.

Another much larger development by energy giant Eagle Energy, earmarked for a parcel of land between the Point and Coly, remains in the planning stage.

Murrumbidgee Shire Council general manager Carolyn Upston said the ethanol plant push in the district was a potential bonanza for the area.

“It shows our area is getting the reputation as a place to do business,” Ms Upston said.

“This will not only provide employment for the economy, but it will show others with a vision that there are endless possibilities in the Murrumbidgee shire.

“There’s an attitude out there now that things can happen here.”

She said a number of other “very big” announcements for the shire were expected in the coming months.

The Bull Road development was passed under delegated authority, meaning councillors were not required to vote on it.

But at the latest council meeting, a number of councillors – including mayor Phil Wells – expressed concern at the process, calling on council’s director of environment services Doug Bourke to prepare a report with more information for the next council meeting.

When quizzed about the development, Cr Wells refused to comment, saying the nature of the development should not be made public until the report was sent back to council.

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