The chair of the government body charged with delivering $4 billion in rural loans is due to visit Orange next week ahead of the organisation being based here.
Orange has been announced as the base for the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), nicknamed the Barnaby Bank, after its instigator, former Nationals leader and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the chair of the RIC, David Foster, was expected to visit Orange next Wednesday.
Cr Kidd said the RIC had yet to announce a site for its headquarters in Orange.
However, he said the RIC’s official website would go live on July 1.
Cr Kidd said he expected a site would be identified soon with the body to begin operating in Orange this year.
“They are in the process of looking at suitable sites,” Cr Kidd said.
Mr Joyce announced Orange would be the site of the RIC at a press conference in Robertson Park in May last year however it was not officially confirmed until Mr Foster announced it 12 months later.
The RIC will deliver $2 billion in farm business concessional loans and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility.
A spokesman for the RIC said the board was still considering property options.
He said staffing was also under consideration.
“The RIC board has appointed an acting CEO, Matt Ryan, while they recruit a permanent CEO to be based in Orange,” he said.
“Recruitment of other permanent staff will proceed at the right time. Positions will be available to those with appropriate qualifications and or experience.
“We fully expect locals to be among those qualified to work for the RIC.”
He said a start date for the body in Orange had yet to be determined.
“There are a number of elements to be worked through including selecting a property, undertaking a property fitout and recruitment,” he said.
“Once these are finalised the RIC will begin operating in Orange. We expect that to be sometime later this year.”
Apart from Mr Foster the other RIC board members will be Lucia Cade, Mark Lewis and Prue Bondfield.
Mr Foster said Orange beat several other regional cities to become the RIC base.
He said factors in the decision included access to transport, availability of commercial real estate and telecommunications.