ALMOST $4 million has been allocated by the State government to help establish a cotton gin as part of the East Kimberley's Ord River Irrigation Area.
Premier Mark McGowan and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan on Tuesday jointly announced a $3.5 million grant to upgrade the power supply to the proposed cotton gin site on Mulligans Lagoon Road.
With Horizon Power's assistance a high-voltage power supply line and local network will link Pac Hydro's Lake Argyle generation system with the site.
A further $481,000 in matched funding has been allocated to progress preliminary design work and approvals for the gin, Mr McGowan and Ms MacTiernan said.
The State government funds support efforts by a group of local investors led by the Ord River District Co-operative, Kimberley Agricultural Investment Pty Ltd and the MG Corporation, to build a sustainable local cotton industry.
The government claims a local cotton gin to separate and clean the cotton fibre is central to the development of a viable industry in the Kimberley, otherwise raw cotton grown in the Ord River Irrigation Area would have to be transported to Queensland for processing.
A recent study indicated a new cotton gin could create more than 1000 local jobs in its first 10 years, generating $1.19 billion in cotton lint exports and additional value-add benefits from retained cotton seed as feed for the cattle industry.
Cotton trials in the Ord irrigation area over the past four years using the new generation Bollgard 3 variety, with improved pest and disease resistance, have proved successful, with 1200 hectares grown last year.
Mr McGowan said the government support "will ensure a reliable, efficient, clean power supply for the Kimberley cotton gin, using hydroelectricity with zero carbon emissions, highly desired by the discerning global marketplace - increasing the competitiveness of the business".
Ms MacTiernan said the commercial trials had demonstrated "the Ord region can grow a high-quality, high-yielding crop, which has given local growers confidence to push ahead with establishing a sustainable cotton industry, including local processing".
"With the State government, growers and traditional owners working towards this shared vision, we are confident we can get a cotton gin off the ground in Kununurra," she said.
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