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Abalone farm developer hopes for future progress

Yumbah not giving up

YUMBAH is looking at ways to make the Dutton Way abalone farm a viable proposition, saying it won’t give up hope on the site until all options are exhausted.
While the company will not appeal December’s Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision rejecting a planning permit for the $60 million farm (the deadline for that expired this week), Yumbah Narrawong general manager Tim Rudge said it was considering other options.
“What we’re hoping is that that there’s a way we can bring the project to life,” he said.
That would require a new planning application, but the company had not given up on the site.
VCAT largely rejected the original proposal because of the effects it would have on property owners on the ridge overlooking it.
“We’ve got to work out if we can build something that’s acceptable and we’re working on it.
“This would have been the biggest investment ever into the Victorian seafood industry and would’ve created more than 100 permanent jobs.
“We’ve now got EPA works approval and environmental and technical aspects have also been ticked off and are beyond challenge but that leaves the amenity issue as the hurdle we must overcome to establish an abalone farm on the site.
“It wasn’t the development that VCAT rejected, it was the scale.”
Yumbah had also had to shelve plans for a $10 million processing facility slated for industrial land on Browning St, Portland.
“We’d love to push the button on that, but we can’t until this gets approval,” Mr Rudge said.
“It’s on ice until we can because it requires critical volume in order to justify the investment.
“We’d love to find a solution.”
Mr Rudge ruled out expanding the existing facility at Narrawong.

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