14/08/2020 - 14:00

$42m plan for WA food industry

14/08/2020 - 14:00

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The state government has unveiled a suite of initiatives including a $16.7 million food and beverage fund to support Western Australia’s food sector and create local jobs.

$42m plan for WA food industry
Alannah MacTiernan says only one fifth of WA’s export value was generated by processed foods. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government has unveiled a suite of initiatives including a $16.7 million food and beverage fund to support Western Australia’s food sector and create local jobs.

The four-year fund is aimed at driving state-wide investment in WA food industries, and will be made available to agrifood businesses for capital expansion, relocation or feasibility studies to grow local processing.

The first round – $6.5 million in Value Add Investment Grants – starts today, and is designed to boost agricultural value-adding and processing across both metropolitan and regional WA.

The initiative builds on a similar agribusiness program, the state government said, which generated around $22 million in private sector investment and created nearly 300 jobs.

The recovery package, totalling more than $40 million, also includes investments of $8.3 million investment to grow the value of the northern beef industry and $8.1 million to continue the state government’s eConnected Grainbelt program, which promotes the availability of information and ag-tech tools across the grains industry.

Investments will also go towards the state’s Food Industry Innovation program, which will receive $6 million, as well as the Katanning sheep research facility and Albany shellfish hatchery.

Agriculture and Foods Minister Alannah MacTiernan said only one fifth of WA’s export value was generated by processed foods.

“This is a significant opportunity to support jobs and diversify our manufacturing and processing capability by supporting this sector, in addition to capturing value-adding markets for WA’s high-quality primary production products,” she said.

Premier Mark McGowan said WA’s food and beverage industry was in a unique position to support the state’s recovery efforts, retain jobs and take advantage of key market opportunities.

The package forms part of the state government’s $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan, aimed at growing the state’s economy post COVID-19.

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