Bundaberg Regional Council has unveiled plans to transform its former Bargara administration building into a national centre of agricultural technology and innovation.
Tenders have been invited from interested businesses and organisations to lease space in the building.
The call follows extensive community consultation in 2018-19 where Council sought input on how the office facility should be repurposed.
This process, which included a public tender, identified a desire to keep the building in public ownership as a community asset.
Agricultural technology was among the ideas put forward as a potential use.
Council’s Executive Director Strategic Projects and Economic Development, Ben Artup, said negotiations were under way with a significant ag tech-related tenant for a substantial part of the building.
“We’re now seeking to attract other complementary tenants to create an incubator-style facility that leverages the region’s strength as one of Australia’s largest agricultural regions,” he said.
Ag tech centre will drive innovation
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the concept complements the Bundaberg Region’s status as the premier food-producing district in Australia.
“Ag tech has the ability to drive innovation and productivity across our farming sector by mixing like-minded entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers in one co-located facility,” he said.
“Council will continue to manage the building and use it to build a local ag tech innovation ecosystem that positions Bundaberg’s economy into the future.
“The use of real-time data in monitoring and testing agricultural innovations in Bundaberg will open up new economic opportunities for the region.
“To get this right, we need to build an environment where the right people can mix and work together.”
Bargara divisional councillor Greg Barnes said while the focus was to secure additional ag-tech related organisations and create a one-stop shop, community groups would be able to hire meeting space in the building at affordable rates.
“It’s a very large building and there are some spaces perfectly suited for community and cultural arts groups to meet or create,” he said.
There are no changes at the Bargara Cultural Centre, which remains a Council-owned building, available for community use.
The timber sculpture, Denizens of the Deep by Nobby Clarke, will remain where it is in the foyer of the administration building unless a better location is found.
Lease tenders opened on 17 January 2020 and close on Tuesday, 11 February 2020. Tender documents can be accessed at www.lgtenderbox.com.au.