Wagga City Council has approved the expansion of the Southern Oil Refinery in Bomen in a decision welcomed by industry leaders.
At a price close to $2 million, the expansion of the oil plant will allow the bio-fuel production of advanced lubricants, which is currently being done at the Gladstone plant in Queensland, to be produced at a smaller scale in Wagga.
Managing director Tim Rose said the operation can “finally go ahead” and move into the second stage expansion of the refinery.
“There’s still some stuff to be worked out with the council, who have been a little bit slow up until now,” Mr Rose said.
“We’re hoping this continues and we will be able to create more jobs and economic output and secure the future for the next 20 years.”
The oil plant’s extension is expected to cost $1.8 million and Mr Rose estimated about eight direct jobs and 20 to 30 indirect jobs, through logistics, will be created.
“We’ll start recruiting trainees in the next month and we’re going to need engineers, scientists and operators who are university qualified and this will draw people from outside the region,” he said.
Wagga Business Chamber vice-president Daniel Donebus said this was a “very welcomed” development that will create more jobs.
“This is a sign of confidence for Wagga and reinforces the company’s commitment to the city and their long-term plan for maintaining a presence here,” Mr Donebus said.
“Requiring a skilled workforce in our economy will show continued growth in Wagga and keeps us on the map as an industry between the capital cities.”
Council’s city strategy manager Tristan Kell said the oil plant is an “important business” as it is one of only two facilities in Australia that produces fully re-refined lube oil.
“Innovation and recycling is a theme consistent with the long-term vision for Bomen, a thriving enterprise area supporting jobs and economic benefit for the region,” Mr Kell said.
“It is important that businesses based in Bomen are able to expand and grow to leverage from improved infrastructure to support transport and logistics and growing population in Wagga.
“Council is working with industry and state government to streamline planning approvals within Bomen to support continued growth and remove red tape.”