Southern Mallee council set to sell Parilla Accommodation Facility

The Southern Mallee District Council is set to sell the Parilla Accommodation Facility, through an open Expression of Interest (EOI), beginning this month.

The facility was built back in the early 2000s by the Parilla community, in response to demand for accommodation for horticulture workers in the district and the South Mallee council then took on ownership and management of it a few years later.

In a release, the council stated it had "maintained the Parilla facility over the past two decades, however believes private sector ownership would be more appropriate for this facility".

"There is now commercial interest in the facility and council has decided to commence an asset disposal process."

The Southern Mallee council said while it cannot disclose details of the private parties interested in the sale, it advised it would follow its disposal of land and assets policy, by starting a public EOI process in the coming weeks.

Community consultation was undertaken on the sale of the facility in 2018-19 and the views of the local community and key stakeholders have been considered by Council.

Council will also write to Parilla residents to advise them of the plans for the facility, and provide a chance for feedback.

Deputy Mayor Paul Ireland said council believed the sale of the Parilla Accommodation Facility would be positive for the community, industry and the council.

"There is significant merit in this facility becoming privately owned and operated," Cr Ireland said.

"While we have managed this facility really well for many years, we believe now is the right time to explore the opportunity for private investment.

"The facility was built back in 2001 because there was simply not enough available accommodation to house the workers our district needed to maintain growth in the horticultural sector. It was an asset for the community then, and it still can be now, but it's time for the private sector to take it on.

"Last year we spoke to the local Parilla community members, and while their preference was for the local hotel to take it on, the owner simply was not interested.

"The facility's occupancy numbers have been slowly dropping over the years, and council's maintenance costs have increased, so the time is right to open up Expressions of Interest, and dispose of it from council's register."