Victoria’s Latrobe Valley is hoping to transform its local economy into a premier aerospace hub.
Latrobe City Council deputy mayor Graeme Middlemiss officially launched the aerospace precinct at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon on Thursday.
Currently, the council-owned Latrobe Regional Airport is used by Mahindra Aerospace, which makes the G8 Airvan, recreational and general aviation users, as well as the Ambulance Air Rescue.
Cr Middlemiss said it was envisaged the aerospace precinct would feature a manufacturing zone, a training and education zone slated for training Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (LAMEs), and a manufacturing “laboratory” and research centre.
It would be located close to the State Government’s recently announced high tech precinct.
“For those ready to join Mahindra Aerospace at our precinct, we are the only site in Australia where real aircraft are designed and manufactured,” Cr Middlemiss said at the airshow.
“We are building on our experience and strength as Australia’s engineering capital. We’re probably the largest concentration of heavy engineering in Australia.”
The move has the backing of the Victorian Government.
In November 2016, Premier Daniel Andrews established a “new economic growth zone” in the Latrobe Valley, offering incentives and tax breaks as part of a $266 million package to create jobs and grow businesses.
This was in addition to other measures assisting those affected by the impending closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired electricity generator by the end of March.
“The momentum behind the establishment of the aerospace precinct is buoyed by the support at all levels of government,” Cr Middlemiss said.
“We’re serious, we have money behind us.”
The council was now taking expressions of interest from aviation and aerospace businesses, universities and government agencies.