WA Budget makes room for food

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 24th May 2010

The Western Australian state Budget, announced Thursday by Premier and Treasurer Colin Barnett, has a number of provisions for food in WA, including livestock, irrigation, biosecurity and food charities.

Agriculture will receive $11.3 million for livestock industry development and innovation, $37 million for biosecurity risk management against pests, diseases, feral animals and native pests such as emus (including $6 million for border biosecurity at airoports, ports and other transport hubs), $30 million over three years for grain innovation and 8.8 million for irrigation in the North of Western Australia.

The funds will be spent on a variety of projects, including a ‘New Crops for New Climate Environments’ project to evaluate GM crops, featuring two climate simulator facilities at Merredin and Katanning.

“This centre of research excellence will help underpin and expand growth of the State’s $4.5billion grains industry and will make a major contribution to national grains research,” Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said.

“National and international expertise will be brought together with a major focus on grain quality and market competitiveness, biosecurity and productivity by creating a cluster of research excellence and training facilities.”

Other projects include the regional Gascoyne Foodbowl regional initiative, new irrigated precincts in the West Kimberly and Pilbara, increased indigenous involvement in northern agriculture, $4.8 million for dog management and upgrades to the State Barrier Fence, Industry Funding Schemes for tackling pests and diseases, $21.5 million for the State’s regional livestock saleyard strategy and a supply chain and processing business analysis for WA beef.

Meanwhile, Community Services, Seniors and Volunteering and Women’s Interests Minister Robyn McSweeney announced that food charity Foodbank would receive a substantial benefit in this year’s Budget, stating that demand for food relief had continued to steadily increase over the past years.

“The State Government has allocated $6million to Foodbank, which distributes food to more than 650 welfare and community agencies, in addition to a further $6.39million delivered by Lotterywest in the next three years,” she said.

“This capital funding will enable Foodbank to help people in need and directly support valued organisations doing it tough.”