The State Government's $7.5 million redevelopment of the Loxton Research Centre has reached another milestone after being endorsed by Parliament's Public Works Committee.
Acting Minister for Regional Development Leon Bignell said the Loxton Research Centre redevelopment would be a hub for new ideas and opportunities from across the globe.
"We then want to apply these ideas in the River Murray region," Mr Bignell said.
"The collaboration between industry and researchers will ensure South Australia builds on our reputation and market edge as a leader in premium food and wine production from our clean environment.
"This new centre will be the home of many key industry groups, including the Almond Board of Australia and the new Centre of Excellence for the Australian Almond Industry.
"I visited Loxton earlier this month and met with local industry bodies who are keen to band together to use the Centre as a business hub and have encouraged them to further develop their proposal."
Mr Bignell said with the Public Works Committee endorsement achieved, a decision is now expected shortly on the planning approvals for the new building.
"This will then enable the competitive tender process to commence and we will be encouraging qualified Riverland builders to put in their bids," he said.
"Refurbishment of the existing centre is also well underway, including repairs and maintenance - providing further local employment opportunities.
"With this project we aimed to employ 90 per cent of the contractors from the local region and we are well on track to achieving this target with over 4000 hours of direct employment," he said.
"An important part of this redevelopment has been the revegetation of both the new and existing sites at the Centre. Again we have looked locally to ensure the benefits stay in the region and the plan is for this work to be undertaken by local Aboriginal community members."
The redevelopment of the Loxton Research Centre forms part of the $25 million Regional Economic Development element of the $265 million SARMS program.
SARMS supports the region to build on its global reputation for food, wine and clean technology expertise under the Government of South Australia’s economic priority Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world.