THE NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) headquarters will remain in Orange for the next two decades, with an expected 28 positions to open in the next four years, but it remains unclear which site it will call home.
The NSW Government released an accommodation strategy, which will open expressions of interest to either refurbish the current Kite Street address, where the lease will end in 2020, or suggest a different site.
The department’s 701 current employees will require a site within or outside the Orange CBD with a floor area of 8650 square metres.
The Orange Agricultural Institute on Forest Road will continue to operate as part of the strategy.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said it had been 24 years since former deputy premier Ian Armstrong moved the Department of Agriculture to Orange and it would remain for another 24 years at least.
However, he declined to confirm whether any other towns had been considered or what would happen beyond 2040.
“We’re putting it in concrete that DPI will be here until 2040, we’re removing any uncertainty,” he said.
“We know that jobs in a whole range of other sectors are underpinned and secured by this announcement.”
Mr Blair said the relocation of other large players like Paraway Pastoral Co and The Land newspaper to Orange meant it made sense to stay.
Beyond the projected 28-job expansion, Mr Blair did not commit to bringing further jobs to Orange, but he said flow-on effects from the DPI had created 200 jobs since 2011.
NSW Farmers welcomed the announcement and association president Derek Schoen said having a major government department west of the Great Dividing Range made it more attuned to the needs of farmers.