Agribusiness profile grows


Circled in orange is agricultural land requiring protection.
Circled in orange is agricultural land requiring protection.

The council agreed to elevate agribusiness as a priority on its advocacy strategy at the February 2 council meeting.

Last month, the City’s advocacy and economic development manager Ian Martinus said as urban development encroached on rural areas, it was important to protect agricultural land.

Dr Martinus said there were opportunities to introduce agricultural precincts and protect prime agricultural land across about 2800ha identified in Carabooda and Nowergup.

He said benefits of doing so included food production and creating local jobs, and his report to the council highlighted crops mainly grown within the City.

“The City of Wanneroo is one of the key councils that make up the peri-urban arc around Perth City and contributes 38 per cent of total gross value of agricultural commodities produced in the Perth region,” the report said.

“One of the unique issues facing peri-urban Perth is the continued loss of prime agricultural land to urban encroachment.

“This has created a need to protect the remaining agriculturally viable land in the northern rural areas. The protection of agriculturally productive land will also help retain jobs and economic activity in this industry and contribute to economic diversity.”

The report said Wanneroo growers produced 100 per cent of the sweet corn grown in Perth, 97 per cent of tomatoes, 92 per cent of avocados and 78 per cent of strawberries. It said retaining agribusiness jobs would reduce the City’s high dependence on the top three industries – construction, manufacturing and retail – but identified water supply as the major limiting factor.

“In a meeting on January 28, the Department of Water reported it would generally seek all users across all sectors to reduce their water use,” the report said.

“(The department) would work with the City of Wanneroo to devise a plan for agricultural producers in Wanneroo to adapt the way they use water to irrigate.”

Councillor Dianne Guise voiced concerns that the Planning Department’s documents for Perth and Peel @3.5 million did not reference food production.

Following the unanimous council decision, the City and State planning agencies will investigate whether to introduce a special control area in Carabooda and Nowergup for food production.

The City will also ask the Water Department to allocate more water licences.