ONE of Australia’s largest and most powerful privately owned companies, Visy Logistics, looks set to fund construction of a freight terminal at Bomen.
The agreement to advance the long-awaited Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub was struck with Wagga City Council on Thursday and while appears to cut the Harefield facility out of the loop, Junee mayor Neil Smith is not convinced it will mean the worst.
“It is a bit disappointing given the Harefield depot, but it’s only another 15 kilometres down the road. We’ve always seen Bomen as sort of the south Junee business park.”
The Harefield depot has only been operational since late 2013.
“Quite a bit of money through private funding and council did go towards improving that stretch of Burns Road towards Wallacetown just a few short years ago,” Mayor Smith said.
“It has made the intersection safer, but [if the depot closes] the road only really had a few years’ use.”
Wagga City Council’s general manager Peter Thompson said the RiFL Hub has the potential to become a ‘transformative piece of infrastructure’ for Wagga and Junee.
“The aim of the public-private partnership is for Visy Logistics to fund the construction of the freight terminal and then operate the freight terminal on a long-term lease,” Mr Thompson said.
“It will provide a significant and long-lasting benefit to current and future businesses, as well as flow-on effects for the broader community.”
Visy is expected to invest between $5 million and $10 million in the freight terminal. The project’s progress now hinges on securing $35 million in state government funding.
Work on securing the long-term future of Bomen has been going on for more than a decade.
A strategic master plan for the 1800-hectare Bomen site was completed in 2009 and featured the proposed RiFL Hub and the roadworks required to make the project possible.
Works began with the Eunony Bridge Road Deviation project in 2014-15 and were followed by the $35m Bomen roads project, which was completed in 2017.
Until the fate of the Harefield depot is better known, Mayor Smith has vowed to reserve his overall judgement.
“I’m not overly excited one way or the other. It’s a good thing for the region and I don’t think we can be too parochial about it.”