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Moree to develop Smart Region Business Incubator and co-working space thanks to $515,468 Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development grant

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt joined Moree mayor Katrina Humphries (centre) in Moree on Wednesday to announce funding for Moree's Smart Region Business Incubator and co-working space.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt joined Moree mayor Katrina Humphries (centre) in Moree on Wednesday to announce funding for Moree's Smart Region Business Incubator and co-working space.

Local and visiting workers will soon have access to a new co-working space in the Moree CBD, where they can "hatch" and develop business ideas, thanks to half a million dollars of federal government funding.

Moree Plains Shire Council will receive a total of $515,468 from the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program to develop a Smart Region Business Incubator and co-working space, called 'The Greenhouse'.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton joined Moree mayor Katrina Humphries to make the funding announcement on Wednesday.

Mr Coulton said he was thrilled to see a significant cash injection into Moree's co-working incubator project.

"This co-working space will not only be available to local and visiting workers; it will also include the delivery of the well-established business incubator program from the University of New England," he said.

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"The incubator will be based in the main street to encourage local spending in cafes and retail stores to also contribute to the local economy.

"No doubt the water reforms over the last decade have impacted on communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, none more-so than Moree, so it is important that we recognise that by stimulating other sections of the economy and the community, we can encourage people to understand that these communities offer great potential and great benefits. And so I'm sure this business incubator and shared working space will be a great place for those that want to start off their business and want somewhere to work.

"Working now remotely in Moree from the capital city or overseas destination is quite possible and this incubator will make that a reality."

Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said it's a very exciting project, providing people with an office space where they can come to work with not only a reliable internet connection, but a network of other like-minded business people.

"It allows people to stay here and actually work, but it's also a big flag we're waving - Moree's ready and open for business," she said.

"It gives people a working space.

"We all know, sadly in places our internet connection is not up to scratch, which is a huge issue. You cannot run a business without good internet.

"But also, it's about support. We've got people here that have brilliant ideas but it gives them a place to hatch them. And that's why it's called an 'incubator'.

"This is where we're going to be hatching enormous projects which will absolutely complement everything else that's going on in our community, like the Inland Rail and Special Activation Precinct.

"We're absolutely blessed, we're also very grateful, but we are also really excited. And we know we deserve this. There's no holding back on that. We deserve it, we've worked for it and the team at council have been phenomenal."

Cr Humphries said the co-working space will also provide a social outlet for people who are currently working from home due to COVID-19.

She is hopeful the co-working space will be opened by the end of this year.

A total of $3.4 million has been committed to the Parkes electorate under round two of the MDBA Economic Development Program, which Mr Pitt said is about helping rural and regional communities along the Murray-Darling Basin.

"This second round of grants, valued at $15 million, is even more important, given the effects drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are having on our communities," he said.

"This funding will benefit new businesses, allow for the scaling-up of existing business, improve local capacities and entice investment in the Moree Plains Shire and North West NSW."