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EDITORIAL: Let’s back ourselves and get moving

There is a profound regional message amid a probe into the potential of Ararat becoming the foundation centre in a national push into bioenergy.

It goes something like, ‘avoid waiting for others to do something when you can do it yourself’. Or to use another expression popularised by Benjamin Franklin, ‘God helps those who help themselves’.

Ararat Rural City Council is working with renewable-energy group Pacific Heat and Power on a landmark and large-scale Grampians Gas plant project to turn agricultural waste stubble and straw into energy.

It is potentially a $200-million exercise that if it becomes a reality could dramatically change socio-economic fortunes of Ararat and the broader region.

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Apologies for the cliché, but in promoting a forum at Ararat’s Alexandra Oval Community Centre this Tuesday, Ararat Rural City Council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison ‘hit the nail on the head’.

He said the project catalyst had been agribusinesses calling for governments to take the lead on ways to recover energy from farm waste.  

He said, “Rather than wait for government to catch up on finding ways to address our economic and environmental challenges, we’ve reached out to industry for a solution.”

Well said, Dr Harrison. While we obviously rely heavily on state and federal governments for broad support, safety nets and an attentive ear, the reality is we in the region must instigate our own economic gear shifts.

Developing something new from scratch is the ideal, but the philosophy also draws on a value-adding concept manual.

We know we have assets and industry that have kept our region ticking along, albeit at a pedestrian pace. But it takes the spark of a new idea or identifying something previously out-of-reach to turn a walk into a gallop.

The Ararat project also turns a perceived negative into a positive.

Electricity-supply limitations hinder energy-intensive industries from expanding and the bioenergy project swaps ‘impediment’ for ‘competitive advantage’.

As Dr Harrison pointed out, the project provided an opportunity to secure energy and renewable gas for use by home-town industry. This included ‘behind-the-meter’
arrangements and accompanying energy cost reductions that loom as regional game-changers.

Government support is often essential, especially in our part of the world.

But the real winners come when government coffers provide only the cream for a cake already baked and out of the oven.

It can be tough, but we must be willing to have faith and back ourselves.

RELATED: Ararat bioenergy project gathers steam


The entire April 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!