Council won't use research station

BANANA Shire administration staff will not move into the Biloela Research Station if it is sold off by the State Government.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin announced a fortnight ago the farm land at the Biloela station would be sold off to fund a single research facility for Central Queensland in Emerald.

Most of the 24 government employees at the Biloela research facility would be relocated, however, it is understood some administration positions would remain.

It has been suggested that rather than the DPI facility lying dormant, Banana Shire Council could relocate into the complex, instead of building a new complex at Magavalis.

But this appears an extremely expensive exercise and therefore highly unlikely, despite the fact that 17 shire employees already work out of the research station administration centre.

Council's environmental services department moved into a section of the research station administration centre a couple of years ago after outgrowing council offices in Prairie.

Banana Shire chief executive Ray Geraghty said it would cost significantly more to purchase the Biloela Research Station and then retrofit it to meet the council's needs, than it would build the new administration centre at Magavalis.

“Officially we have heard nothing (from the State Government in relation to the sale),” Mr Geraghty said.

“There is a rumour running around that there is a push on to sell some of the land, but I don't think there has been any formal decision made.”

Mr Geraghty said an investigation last year revealed the best option for the council's new administration centre was the Magavalis site, on land already owned by the council.

“One of the options we looked at was the DPI complex, along with the CBD and Magavalis.

“The DPI is totally unsuitable as it stands.

“The issue we saw up at the DPI building was that it isn't really well laid out and to purchase the complex and then retrofit it to meet our needs would be a hell of a lot more expensive than setting up a new complex at Magavalis.

“We would have to spend a significant amount of money to retrofit the centre on top of money to purchase it.”

He said there were parts of the DPI complex that were just as old as the existing council administration centre.

The council will receive copies of the concept plan for the new Magavalis office before the end of the month and tenders for construction should be called in January.

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