VIDEO: DEPI announce timeline for $8.25m headquarters

WORK will start in two months on an $8.25 million Warrnambool headquarters for the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) on Raglan Parade.

The project will boost the depressed construction industry sector by providing employment for up to 100 workers.

Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine announced on Friday tenders would be called in January from regional contractors. 

Demolition of the Beaurepaires site would start in February and construction by about May.

The single-storey complex is expected to be completed by February 2015 and will be occupied by 56 DEPI and Parks Victoria staff now based at Henna Street.

Warrnambool City Council issued a planning permit last month for the building, which features a sweeping facade design inspired by coastal birdlife, marine life and historic shipping.

DEPI regional director Helen Vaughan said it had been designed with environmental sustainable features and had space to accommodate expansion of staff numbers.

“It will be a one-stop shop for all our operations,” she said. “We’ll have a number of meeting and conference rooms for consultation with clients and the community.

“It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get this far and we are excited to be moving into the construction phase.”

Dr Napthine, who once worked as a veterinary surgeon at the former Department of Agriculture offices on Henna Street, said the new headquarters would house staff working in dairy research and productivity, meat and wool productivity, biosecurity, animal health, wildlife management, planning, land management and customer service.

“This new landmark for Warrnambool will help improve DEPI’s performance and drive local engagement, decision making and accountability while bolstering regional capability,” he said.

“The south-west boasts world-class primary industries and with support from the new headquarters our region will play a key role in helping meet the Coalition government’s target of doubling food production by 2030.”

He said recent merger of the former departments of sustainability and environment and primary industries was producing better land and water management services. Beaurepaires will cease trading in Warrnambool on Monday at the end of its property lease, ending an association with Warrnambool spanning about 60 years.

“After a review of the business, we will not be seeking alternative premises in Warrnambool,” a company spokeswoman said.

The site was owned by a Warrnambool entity and sold to the state government in 2012.

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