INCREASED interest in a proposal for a Red Meat Precinct has seen the project evolve into the South West Agrifood Precinct.
A steering committee, called the South West Agrifood Precinct Group (SWAPG), was formed in January and is working to develop a proposal in support of a South West food processing precinct.
The original red meat precinct proposal outlined a highly efficient hub for anything involved in the red meat industry and would include saleyards, an abattoir for both domestic and export product, boning facilities and further processing such as tanning, tallowing, hide and canning plants.
It would also include a feedlot with both short and long term capacity, settling ponds and truck wash down bays.
Under the SWAPG banner industries involved in the precinct would be more diverse.
The SWAPG includes industry representatives from the public and private sectors, processing, livestock agents, transport, live export, South West Development Commission, Agriculture and Food Department (DAFWA), local governments, Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance, producers and the Red Meat Action Group.
The committee of nine is independently chaired by Leon Giglia.
According to SWAPG spokesperson Barbara Dunnet, a skills-based group was formed to correctly develop a proposal which covered all bases.
Ms Dunnet said interest had grown from the initial proposal, as it became clear that more sectors of the supply chain needed homes.
She said encroachment of urban and light industry on existing food processors and other associated industries had created land use conflicts which may limit the freedom to operate and develop.
"There are also new industries that have shown interest, the latest being the whey industry," Ms Dunnet said.
"We have had a lot of potential investors that have shown interest verbally, we just need to formalise that interest to get things moving."
A number of different groups and studies have raised the concept of a processing precinct, among them the 2009 Beef Stocktake report identified processing precincts as a potential opportunity for the WA beef industry.
Ms Dunnet said the SWAPG was a subsidiary of the precincts being considered by DAFWA.
The Red Meat Action Group has also launched a concept plan for co-location of processors and associated industries.
Ms Dunnet said the group had collected data from industry and was conducting an assessment and economic analysis in preparation to present a proposal for consideration by the WA Beef Council and the South West Region Industrial Land Study.
"We are trying to work as fast as possible to get this going," Ms Dunnet said.