Govt delivers important programs for WA farmers

Govt delivers important programs for WA farmers

Opinion
Aa

Govt delivers important programs for WA farmers

Aa
 Agricultural Region MP Darren West (left), with Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Meat & Livestock Australia group manager productivity and animal wellbeing David Beatty at the launch of the $4m SheepLinks program in August.

Agricultural Region MP Darren West (left), with Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Meat & Livestock Australia group manager productivity and animal wellbeing David Beatty at the launch of the $4m SheepLinks program in August.

WHO would believe we would be talking about a 22 million tonne harvest for 2021?

Cyclones, frost and COVID labour shortages and supply chain issues - but still our farmers have still delivered big time.

You got the crop in and now you're getting it off.

CBH has already received the biggest harvest on record, reporting 18.3 million tonnes in the bin last week - with plenty more to come.

We will see the positive knock-ons from this season's record harvest continue next year.

We're hearing that the combination of bumper incomes and high fertiliser prices will see a lift in legumes and pastures and a growth in break crops.

Beef, lamb and wool prices remain incredibly strong and production is high.

It is a remarkable feat of resilience - and the McGowan government's efforts to keep COVID-19 out of WA have ensured our agricultural industries could continue to thrive amid a pandemic.

We've thrown everything we could at helping to manage some of the challenges brought on by COVID.

Last week our 15th cohort of seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands left our dedicated seasonal worker quarantine hotel - taking the total number of workers brought in since the start of the pandemic to about 2000.

That's more than double the number of Pacific Island workers who were normally in WA pre-COVID-19.

At last count our Primary Industries Incentive Scheme had more than 2000 applications, helping to attract workers out to the regions and onto farms.

We've kept domestic supply chains open and made sure international trade could continue without disruption.

But things will change again on February 5, when we begin our Safe transition.

Quarantine-free travel will return for the double vaccinated, both internationally and domestically.

We are pushing hard to help our agricultural industry take full advantage of reopening to the world.

We are investing $65 million in a new targeted marketing campaign to promote WA to skilled and unskilled workers as well as tourists and international students.

The campaign will use our successful record in safely managing the pandemic and a globally high vaccination rate as a drawcard for attracting people to the State.

Campaigns will be tailored to specifically address the skills shortage by attracting both skilled workers and backpackers for agriculture and other industries.

We've also launched a $2.7m round of International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund grants to help our agricultural business grow their export markets.

These are grants of up to $100,000 to help agricultural businesses improve supply chains, scale up for export, diversify their markets and build international customer relationships.

As international passenger flights return to pre-pandemic levels, there will be enormous opportunities for new high-value exports in the belly of those returning flights - and we want to help local businesses get on board.

Of course the year just gone wasn't all about COVID.

Through 2021, our government:

  • Boosted our Digital Farm by another $6.3m to bring broadband to 600 farms in the Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Esperance regions;
  • Rolled out $10.2m in Value-Add Investment Grants to boost agricultural manufacturing;
  • Won back the National Oat Breeding Program from South Australia and committed $10.1m towards an Oats Industry Growth Partnership;
  • Delivered the $6m Wine Industry Export Growth Partnership;
  • Opened our first round of the $15m Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program;
  • Committed to a $15m Agriculture Climate Resilience Fund;
  • Passed long-awaited laws to modernise agricultural producer committees;
  • Provided a $15.1m funding boost to reinforce WA's biosecurity capabilities;
  • Turned the sod on the $21.7m WA Food Innovation Precinct, and committed $10m to boost food value-adding at the facility;
  • Kicked off a $4m sheep research partnership with Meat & Livestock Australi* Released more than 270 hectares of prime horticultural land in Carnarvon;
  • Introduced to parliament new laws to modernise the Soil and Land Conservation Council;
  • Committed to modernising WA's animal welfare laws following release of the independent Animal Welfare Act Review;
  • Helped to secure a $32m NAIF loan for the Kimberley cotton gin, building on the State's $4m commitment;* Delivered more than $8m in Natural Resource Management funding across the State.

This important work will continue in 2022 - the research, development, extension and support to help our farmers stay ahead of the game in an ever-changing global market.

And while much of the State has slowed down over the festive season, we know that our farmers will be out there working as hard as ever - bringing in this eye-watering harvest.

So from every Western Australian - thank you.

Your hard work is what inspires us to work harder - and we'll see you in 2022.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by