Federal Election 2019: Growers rally candidates for support

North Wanneroo growers are concerned about water licence cuts.
North Wanneroo growers are concerned about water licence cuts.

GROWERS and rural landowners will hold an election rally in Nowergup this weekend.

North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar said the group had invited all Pearce candidates to attend the May 5 rally at Ocean View Tavern on Wanneroo Road from 12.30pm to 2pm.

Mr Zagar said the rally related to proposed water licence cuts that threatened to destroy agricultural and horticultural businesses in Carabooda, Nowergup and Neerabup.

The group wants Federal politicians to urge WA to join the National Water Initiative so landowners are compensated for any loss of water licences and to fund the creation of an intensive agricultural precinct in State Forest 65.

It also wants Federal funding to connect Lukin Drive and the Mitchell Freeway extension to Wanneroo Road.

The group also recently called for advocacy support from the City of Wanneroo.

At the April council meeting, Mr Zagar said the group represented families and businesses in Nowergup, Neerabup and Carabooda, some going back three generations who had worked hard on the land.

“We’ve paid a lot of council rates; employed a lot of people – the City really does owe it to honour these pioneer families,” he said.

“Most farmers work at least 60 hours a week and the average age is 60 as not many young people want to enter the industry.

“We desperately need economic stimulus in the area.”

Elected members supported a motion on notice put forward by Councillor Paul Miles to have administration present a report on significant initiatives affecting north Wanneroo and recommending actions the City should consider that aligned with strategic objectives for the area.

Cr Miles said the motion was to reaffirm the City’s commitment to growers.

“There are some abandoned farms; there are some derelict farms,” he said.

“We want to find an economic opportunity for that region and not turn it into a dust bowl.”

His motion said agricultural production in Wanneroo made a significant contribution to the local and State economy, was an important source of fresh produce and a key employment generator.

“Urbanisation of the east Wanneroo area over coming years will see agricultural uses in that area gradually replaced by new urban development, meaning that the focus for agricultural industries in Wanneroo will be the north Wanneroo area, compromising Carabooda, Nowergup and the western part of Neerabup,” it said.

Administration said supporting a viable agricultural sector to support the local economy and facilitate job creation was a priority in the City’s Economic Development Strategy 2016-2021.

It said a draft agribusiness position paper would be presented to the council for consent to advertise by July.

The council is due to consider a report on the North Wanneroo Agriculture and Water Taskforce at its meeting in Koondoola next Tuesday, May 7.

Call 0419 900 731 for more information.

Growers fear water licence cuts will destroy livelihoods