Wanneroo Council endorses agribusiness paper for consultation

Stock image.
Stock image.

WANNEROO Council has endorsed a draft document on agribusiness for public consultation as the sector faces increasing pressure from urbanisation and water issues.

The draft Agribusiness Position Paper – A Thriving Agri-precinct in Wanneroo will go out for a 42-day consultation period in June to give agribusinesses and key stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the development of a final document.

A report on the June 4 council meeting agenda said urban expansion had resulted in the loss of agricultural land and put pressure on remaining rural land.

It said the 1040 local recorded in 2018 were being jeopardised through urbanisation in east Wanneroo and water availability in north Wanneroo.

“The City aims to preserve agriculture and food production as a significant sector for a diversified local economy and to encourage greater employment self-sufficiency, as well as supporting an important contributor to food supply for the broader metropolitan region,” the report said.

Mayor Tracey Roberts urged those with an interest in the sector to contribute proactively to discussions that could help shape the industry’s future in the City.

“Agribusiness is an important and strategic sector for the City’s economy, with local growers making significant contributions to Perth’s agricultural production,” she said.

“The City contributes 34 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural commodities produced in the Perth region.

“Wanneroo is integral to Perth and WA’s future food security providing high quality, healthy local produce for our growing population and export markets.

“A thriving agribusiness industry will contribute to the City’s targets for local employment sufficiency through innovation and excellence in production as well as building on our agri-tourism based offerings.

“The City will continue to collaborate with the industry and key stakeholders on regionally significant projects that offer benefit to the industry and support a robust economy.

“The draft Agribusiness Position Paper defines a clear objective for Wanneroo’s agribusiness future and includes the opportunities and challenges faced by the industry and key initiatives required to address these.

“Sustainable use of resources including water is a priority and the City will continue to work with the State Government to explore alternatives to the State’s proposed water allocation reductions.

“A long term solution which provides water security is required to reduce grower uncertainty and so it is important to explore other lower cost water supply options.”

The former flower gardens were cleared for the Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road interchange.

Councillors discussed the pressures facing growers and diminishing number of farms at the June 4 meeting.

“It still breaks my heart to go down Wanneroo Road and not see the flower growers,” Cr Dot Newton said.

The council report noted a State Government taskforce identified water as a major limiting factor for agricultural production and increasingly important issue in a drying climate.

It also said the City had been working with the Wheatbelt Development Commission on the ‘North of Perth food zone’ concept, which covered a region that produced more than 60 agricultural products, generating $1 billion a year.

Consultation will include an online survey opening in mid to late June as well as a mail out to all agribusinesses in north and east Wanneroo.

For more information, email economic@wanneroo.wa.gov.au or call 9405 5000.