THE Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) is working with industry to drive priority infrastructure projects which will provide long-term benefits for WA's northern beef industry.
It follows the delivery of the Northern Beef Infrastructure Review report earlier this year as part of the department's Northern Beef Futures (NBF) project.
The report, commissioned by the department and Meat and Livestock Australia, audited the infrastructure supporting the beef industry in the Pilbara and Kimberly regions.
The department's NBF infrastructure manager, Trina Anderson, said the aim of the report was to determine constraints and opportunities and from this, identify projects that would encourage the development of the beef industry in the region.
"Fifteen priority projects have been identified as part of this process," Ms Anderson said.
"These are based around their potential to improve value-adding capacity, increase the efficiency of existing transport infrastructure and meet market and regulatory standards such as biosecurity obligations."
Priority projects identified in the report include holding yards and washdown facilities at Port Hedland, Broome and Halls Creek, potential upgrades at Wyndham and Port Hedland ports and improvements to roads and highways, including the Wyndham Port access road, the Great Northern Highway and Duncan Highway.
The findings have also helped inform the Australian government's $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads (NABR) program.
"The department will look to industry and regional stakeholders to progress individual projects and facilitate their delivery through the provision of $600,000 in seed funding, scheduled for release later this year," Ms Anderson said.
Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association chief executive Catherine Marriott said the infrastructure report was an important document to inform and shape priority infrastructure projects.
"It has also been helpful in identifying choke points in our supply chain and gives us a means to address these," Ms Marriott said.
"With any new project, the concept must be proofed for relevance, affordability and benefit to industry and this report provides this from an infrastructure point of view."
The NBF project, funded by Royalties for Regions, seeks to provide the foundation and stimulus for transformational change from an open sourcing market to demand-driven, dedicated value chains along with new business and investment models.
DAFWA State beef leader Brad McCormick said the NBF project was working across a range of areas to address the broader needs of industry, including infrastructure, land use diversification, market diversity, business capability and enterprise resilience.
"Recent activities includes pre-feasibility work on new and innovative beef supply chains in Thailand, hosting delegations from China and Indonesia interested in importing WA cattle and the Business Improvement Grants program for pastoralists," Mr McCormick said.
"The northern beef industry has strong potential to develop and grow sustainable value chains for beef and cattle exports."
p More information about Northern Beef Futures is available from the department website at agric.wa.gov.au/r4r/northern-beef-futures