THE Newman Government has welcomed the Mary Valley's first economic development project as part of its long-term vision to reinvigorate the community torn apart by the Traveston Dam debacle.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney have announced tenant and outdoor education specialist Higher Ground Group had confirmed plans to consolidate and expand by signing two development leases with options to buy.
Mr Seeney said the Higher Ground Group was a well-credentialed existing tenant operating a successful outdoor education centre that employed around 75 staff.
"It's heartening to see a current tenant operating a viable business deciding to expand its operations," Mr Seeney said.
"The company's decision to take up the opportunity to buy their existing leased property and expand their business by buying the adjoining property bodes well for the future investment and employment across the Mary Valley, with an extra 22 staff expected to be employed.
"This first major economic development signing will benefit the region by encouraging community stability and providing certainty to employees to settle in the area.
"Higher Ground Group has been leasing and operating out of the 73-hectare property at 115 Kress Road since 2006, and now plans to purchase the former Noosa Valley Retreat at 1514 Kenilworth-Skyring Creek Road.
"I'm pleased to announce that my department has finalised development leases with options to buy on the two properties."
Higher Ground Group has indicated it plans to outlay significant capital expenditure on improving the facilities at the 42ha 1514 Kenilworth-Skyring Creek Road property so it can be used for outdoor education camps as well as public recreation such as camping and trails activities.
Mr Seeney said his department had worked with Higher Ground Group to include performance milestones and timelines in the development lease that must be carried out by the company to the government's satisfaction.
"This will ensure that upon completion of the works, Higher Ground Group will have attained all the necessary planning approvals as prerequisites to occupancy of the property," he said.
Mr Seeney said the Mary Valley Economic Development Strategy, launched in July 2012, was on track to revitalise the region.
"The department received an overwhelming response to the strategy's Expression of Interest process and is continuing to work through proposals.
"Work is also continuing on coordinating a whole-of-government approach to support the revitalisation of the Mary Valley.
"The department is engaging with other government agencies, the agricultural sector, industry peak bodies, the finance sector and the broader business community to reduce any road blocks that may lie in the way of business establishment and growth.
"This coordinated approach will ensure that we attract new industry and business to stimulate growth and attract investment.
"The strategy also involves providing access to support programs that will give new businesses the chance to flourish.
"So along with the return of land for community use and residential sales, the Mary Valley Economic Development Strategy is on track to deliver a range of projects."
To be part of the registration of interest process for economic development projects, visit www.maryvalleyproperty.com or call 13 QGOV (13 7468).