ONE of the Barnett government’s top infrastructure priorities is starting to come to fruition, with the release of agricultural land in the Ord River irrigation area, near Kununurra in the state’s north.
The government has called for proposals for the development of 16 lots totalling 7,400 hectares in the Goomig Farm Area, previously referred to as the Weaber Plain Development.
The land release has been designed to suit a range of buyers, from large farming conglomerates to family businesses.
A 17th lot will be acquired by local indigenous business MG Corporation, under the terms of a native title agreement.
The call for development proposals followed the recent granting of federal environmental approval for the next phase of works.
The environmental approval process took much longer than had been anticipated and has put the project about a year behind the original schedule.
The land release follows the investment of about $220 million in water channels and other supporting infrastructure
The state government is also is calling for expressions of interest in the Knox Plain and Ord West Bank areas, which comprise a further 7,500ha.
“We are looking for private sector proponents to work with government to obtain the required approvals over these areas to develop them for agricultural use in the medium to long term,” Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said in a statement.
Premier Colin Barnett said the land release would help the government fulfil its ambition of creating stronger, more sustainable regional communities in the north of the state.
“The release of land in the Goomig Farm Area, Knox Plan, and Ord West Bank more than doubles the size of the existing irrigation area and provides opportunities for short, medium and long-term agricultural land development for a variety of crops,” he said.
In another example of the increased infrastructure investment in the state’s north, $65 million has been committed to complete the first two stages of a new city centre in Karratha.
Mr Grylls said the works would involve the creation of a new main street, tree-lined streetscapes along other town centre roads, and the relocation of the Karratha Seniors Village.
“This is an important project for Karratha in developing it into a world-class city and become the premier city of the north in Western Australia,” he said.