Expressions of interest are being called upon from businesses and investors looking to be a part of a new proposal for a community-owned industrial grain precinct in Kimba.
The facility, Eyre Hub, will act as a central destination for commodity movements and segregations, needed as a result of grain storage facilities being rationalised in the region.
The precinct will include facilities such as grain processing operations, heavy vehicle logistics such as servicing, inspection and fatigue management services, freight distribution and warehousing and customisable grain segregation options.
Two 40 hectare sites have been volunteered by local landholders for the hub, with site work tentatively expected to commence on the chosen site in 2021.
Steering committee spokesperson and local Kimba farmer Andrew Baldock said it was the right time for such a facility to be built.
"With the current development of the Grains Industry Blueprint by Grain Producers SA and the state government, the timing of this proposal is perfect," Mr Baldock said.
"Eyre Hub's innovative vision is to create a low-cost investment platform through collaboration and common use infrastructure is sure to generate much interest in the marketplace.
"This is a golden opportunity for the region to attract multiple complementary businesses and to maximise the value retained locally from our soft commodities."
With the Eyre Hub board having been formed, more than 60 people attended a public information meeting in Kimba on Friday to discuss the project, and officially open the Expressions of Interest period.
"We've formed the board, and called for memberships within the community, we've had an overwhelming response from people wanting to be involved and back this community-led project," Mr Baldock said.
During the next few months, until August, the Eyre Hub board is seeking businesses wanting to offer commodity storage, processing, niche segregations, bulk freight staging and other supplementary services in the region.
We want to hear from businesses and make Eyre Hub as attractive to those businesses as possible.
Mr Baldock urged all interested businesses to get in contact to see how the precinct could help companies to reach their business goals.
"It could be someone with the idea of segregating organic grains, or a transport and logistics company, or a freight distribution company, or even something we haven't even thought of yet that will be a good fit for this precinct, we want to be really innovative and open," Mr Baldock said.
"There is a lot of work to be done, we haven't committed to building the site until we've got commitment form the third parties, but early talks have been really positive, so we urge businesses to get in touch as early as possible to look to create a site that would suit them best.
"We're really flexible in how that works, in terms of ownership structures or the use of third party infrastructure such as weighbridge and sampling, we want to hear from businesses and make Eyre Hub as attractive to those businesses as possible."
With a project study of early ideas having been undertaken, led by Cultivise managing director Adam Chilcott, and using funding from the National Radioactive Waste Management community benefit fund, received two years ago, Mr Baldock said creating multi-use infrastructure, to benefit many, was a key aim going forward.
"It's quite an innovative approach. The business case for niche segregations on their own didn't stand up, that led us to this vision that if the community could provide some of the common-use infrastructure so there isn't a doubling up of these services for each business model, we will be able to create quite an attractive platform for investment in all these smaller niche segregations," he said.
Mr Baldock said regional branding would be a major focus of the project.
"We'll work with industry bodies and state government about building that Eyre Peninsula brand on site, everyone who meets the requirements for operating on site will have that stamp they'll be able to put on their product."
The steering committee will be considering funding options for the civil work, infrastructure required and ongoing operating expenses on site to support business at the Eyre Hub precinct. The release of an Information Memorandum is aimed at formalising interest and assisting in this process.
"We will require genuine interest and formal commitment, to enable us to progress the project to a 'shovel ready' phase - which is not yet committed", Mr Baldock said.
Interested businesses are encouraged to contact the Eyre Hub board at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details, visit eyrehub.com.au
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