Wyndham City Council held a special meeting last night over a budget allocation of $1.5 million that council believes puts Werribee’s CSIRO Food Innovation Centre in danger of shutting down.
It was recently announced that as part of its 2022/23 budget, the Victorian Government provided a $1.5 million grant to LaTrobe University to establish an Australian Food Innovation Centre in Bundoora.
Council believes this not only puts the CSIRO Food Innovation Centre in East Werribee at risk of being closed, but also threatens any future investment in food manufacturing and research and development in the precinct.
There have long been concerns that the Andrews Government, including Tim Pallas, who lives in Williamstown, has taken Werribee for granted and this recent development has been condemned by Wyndham Council in its recent agenda documents.
“The Victorian Government has not committed to creating a single job in East Werribee for food manufacturing and research and development or any other industry.
This is despite the Victorian Government recognising that the East Werribee cluster could support more than 58,000 jobs, which includes leveraging off the food and agriculture industries that are already in this cluster.
We have been forced to accept a prison, we have fought against toxic soil being dumped at our front door and now we learn this same government appears to be investing in a plan to abandon the food manufacturing industry in East Werribee and walk away from a 2,500 jobs target,” the council report stated.
In a recent interview with Wyndham TV, Future Focused Economy Portfolio Holder Councilor Mia Shaw said, “I think it is interesting that in the same budget that we did get the $2.8 million to do some more work on fast-tracking East Werribee and the precinct structure plan, that the State Government also gave the CSIRO and LaTrobe University $1.5 million to look at a business case to leave, and for us, and certainly for me, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
It was recently reported in The Age that they had spoken to more than a dozen Labor sources who have said the party is at risk of losing seats in the state election in strongholds to high-profile local independents.
One Labor source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss internal party matters, said it was highly unusual to send out campaign material six months out from the state election in a safe seat. They said it was emblematic of fears Labor would lose Werribee in November.
Tim Pallas now holds the seat on a 12.6 percent margin after suffering an 11 percent swing to his primary.