The McGowan Government has reaffirmed its support of food producers in Carnarvon after striking a new water-supply agreement to help fuel horticultural expansion along the Gascoyne River.
Struck between Water Corporation and Gascoyne Water Cooperative (GWC), the agreement will see a phased return to more cost-reflective pricing and encourage new enterprises across 300 hectares of prime horticultural land released in January.
The land was made available under the WA Government’s Gascoyne Food Bowl Initiative to increase food production, improve sustainable water supplies for irrigated agriculture and to facilitate new supply chain opportunities for local produce.
Gascoyne growers will be guaranteed supply of high-quality water via a new 25-kilometre pipeline and a reliable electric-power supply, under a new agreement between GWC and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
The new water-supply agreement, which replaces the previous agreement that expired in 2013, will see the McGowan Government continue its support for Gascoyne growers through subsidies on water charges of around $10.5 million over the agreement period.
It will also see a gradual transition towards more cost-reflective water pricing, and enable GWC time to generate new income streams and reduce reliance on government subsidies.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“This agreement represents an important step forward in further establishing the Gascoyne as one of Australia’s premier food producing regions.
“It’s important that water provided more closely reflects the cost of supply, and for a number of years irrigation water has been delivered at a heavily subsidised rate.
“The new agreement continues the McGowan Government’s support of local growers by allowing GWC time to bring new revenue streams online so that a return to a fairer pricing model can be managed in a more sustainable way.”
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“This agreement marks a new period of stability and security for Carnarvon growers, bringing to an end almost 10 years of uncertainty over water pricing.
“We applaud the Gascoyne Water Co-operative for finalising these negotiations and signing an agreement that benefits their growers and the State.
“With real interest in new land available through the Gascoyne Food Bowl project, we will see Carnarvon horticulture reaching the critical mass needed to ensure the long-term viability of the industry.”