$30 million worth of activity in Orange and up to 200 jobs on site
The Department of Primary Industries will move into a new purpose-built home on the site of the former Orange Base Hospital by the end of 2020.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair made the announcement in Orange Tuesday morning.
Mr. Blair said that with the lease on the current DPI offices due to expire, they took the opportunity to consider a number of options, but the new facility on the old hospital site was the best outcome for Orange and for the taxpayers of NSW.
“The hospital site has come out as the best option for taxpayers, but also the best option to provide new life into this site and revitalise this area right in the heart of Orange,” Mr Blair said.
The new facility on the eastern half of the hospital site will include a three-storey building with a multi-level carpark. As well as DPI staff, the building will be home to Department of Premier and Cabinet and Local Land Service employees.
Mr. Blair said the construction process would bring $30 million worth of activity into Orange and generate up to 200 jobs on site.
“This is going to be a quick build. We want to be in this building by the end of 2020 and this is going to see a hive of activity right here in the heart of Orange,” Mr. Blair said.
The DPI’s move to Orange 26 years ago has been a fantastic example of decentralisation, he said, and the new building would allow for future growth.
“We've loved the journey over the last 26 years and we need to set it up for the next 26 and that's why we are starting with a brand new site in the old hospital site. My plan is to get more and more jobs into a building like this and that, I guess, is one of the exciting parts of a new building. We want to make sure we have the car parking, we want to make sure we have the room to continue to grow our presence here in Orange.”
Director General of the Department of Primary Industries, Scott Hansen, said the announcement of a new purpose-built facility for their 700 staff, would only strengthen the department.
“The more infrastructure we can put around them, the better the accommodations we can provide, not only does it provide a better work environment for our current staff, but it acts as a significant attractant to be able to keep bringing the smartest and brightest brains to work for the public service in NSW and, importantly for us, working for DPI,” Mr. Hansen said.
Orange City Council’s Employment and Economic Committee chair, Cr Jeff Whitton, welcomed the DPIs commitment to remain in Orange
“Orange is really grateful that the DPI are choosing to stay in Orange, it is a wonderful asset we have had in the city for the last 26 years,” Cr Whitton said.
He said Council has plans to see ‘urban-style metropolitan housing’ built on the remaining half of the old hospital site.
“Hopefully that will get through Council in the coming years and certainly that is on the plan to have local shops, local community living and with this great asset being built here, it will go hand in glove,” he said.
As for the current home of the DPI, Cr Whitton said he would be working closely with the owner to see how Council could help get new occupants for the building.
“It is a great asset for the city,” Cr Whitton said. “It will generate more jobs if we can get another facility inside that building and that's what we will be talking to the NSW Government about, probably.”
Pictured are: Cr Jeff Whitton, DPI Director General Scott Hansen, Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, and Nationals candidate Yvette Quinn