From bust to boom times

MURWILLUMBAH is set to experience a job boom as several major retailers look set to move their operations into an industrial park east of the town. A decade ago Murwillumbah was one of the dole capitals of Australia but within two years developer %Peter Mitchell hopes to have major industries in the new $350 million Tweed Valley Enterprise Park, mostly employing 30 to 50 workers. Mr Mitchell, whose company Tweed Central Pty Ltd recently paid $32 million to local earthmoving contractors Les and Jim Dickinson for the project, has been busy promoting it on the Gold Coast as the "new Industry Central". He described the purchase in August as "northern NSW's biggest ever industrial land deal". Yesterday Mr Mitchell said one interested company would employ 180 mostly part-time workers. He said he had assured the companies the new Tugun bypass and the recently completed Brunswick Heads bypass will bring future %employees from both the north and the south. "The question was put to me if we would be able to provide enough% people in the area," he said. "My answer was we have to look at the Tweed and Gold Coast as one. We have the new Tugun bypass opening up and the Brunswick %bypass open so we can pull from north and south." Mr Mitchell said he had been% negotiating with several large companies but due to a confidentiality agreement would not be able to make any specific announcement until late this month. He said negotiations involved provision of several large industrial premises for different companies. "The smallest building would be 3000 square metres and the average size 5000. The type of employment will be no less than 30 to 50 persons per company." Tweed Shire Council says its planning allows for hundreds of new homes and residents. And the town's business chamber says big local employers would stop hundreds of people heading out of Murwillumbah each day to work. Mr Mitchell said companies showing interest in the estate were seeking to either lease of buy premises designed and purpose built for them. "There is no spec-building at this stage," he said. "I prefer to design and construct rather than just sell. Industry is going that way because it means efficiency, more cost savings and less wastage. "Once upon a time everything was spec-built then the tenants and owner occupiers tried to fit in. there was a lot of unused space." Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president Phil Youngblutt said he agreed the Tweed and the Gold Coast should be treated as one but Murwillumbah had hundreds of workers who %currently headed north each day. "The biggest percentage of our workers are going up the coast because there no work here," he said.



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