Graincorp to sell off Emerald depot
GRAINCORP will sell off its Emerald depot and relocate out of town as part of a nationwide $200 million restructure of its operations.
The move could pave the way for a future residential development on the 10ha site, Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said.
"In the council's new strategic framework for its new planning scheme, that side of town is one of the areas identified for future urban expansion," Cr Maguire said.
"With the depot's proximity and more and more residences coming to that side of town, I respect Graincorp's decision to move on.
"I am sure it is valuable residential real estate for the future."
Graincorp spokesman Angus Trigg said negotiations were already under way for the new site as part of Project Regeneration.
It is hoped to be open for the 2015-16 harvest.
"We are building a state-of-the-art site to replace Emerald," Mr Trigg said.
"The move to get the site out of the town happened because Emerald has grown around it and strains our operations."
Mr Trigg said there would be a renewed focus on railing grain from Emerald, Moura and Capella.
"Across the network we have seen the amount of grain on rail declining from about 90% to about 50%, so we are aiming to reverse that trend," he said.
AgForce grains president Wayne Newton said while some individual grain growers would be disadvantaged through closures of sites such as Duaringa and Goonoo locally, the restructure would significantly enhance Graincorp's core business in the long term.
"There are a number of projects that have been in dire need for a while, including Emerald and Capella, and I think overall Queensland does fairly well out of the whole deal," Mr Newton said.
"The Emerald site is a valuable piece of real estate, and I believe things are going to start to happen shortly."
Mr Newton said Graincorp's commitment to restore rail-to-port grain movements would be welcomed by growers.
"I think most people believe rail would be more competitive than trucks," he said.
"All road users would rather it was on the rail, and ... those trucks are pounding the roads to death."
Localised cluster operations with the 180 core sites (72 to close) that already receive 90% of all delivered grain
Emerald, Capella, Mt McLaren and Moura designated primary sites
Dingo, Gindie, Koorngoo and Biloela sites to handle grain overflow
Up to 80 jobs could be lost across Graincorp