Construction Underway on State’s First Food Innovation Precinct

Published on 20 May 2021

Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct Turning of the Sod

A major milestone has been reached for Western Australian food growers, producers and manufacturers, with ground broken on the state’s first food innovation precinct.

The occasion was marked on Thursday 20 May during a sod turning event held on site at the Shire of Murray’s Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct at Peel Business Park in Nambeelup.

Attendees included Assistant Minister for Defence and Federal Member for Canning the Hon. Andrew Hastie MP, Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Shire of Murray President Cr. David Bolt, contractors and key project stakeholders.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said The Australian Government has committed $21,750,000 to this project.

“The regional growth fund supports long-term economic growth and creates jobs in regions.” Mr McCormack said.

According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the state-of-the-art facility has been designed to inspire Western Australian growers and producers, to build a robust and vibrant food and beverage manufacturing sector.

“The Precinct will broaden Western Australia’s economic base by competitively positioning food and beverage product development and production primarily for international markets. 

“A common trend in today’s economy sees enterprises operating independently, with limited access to infrastructure or research and product development support.

“The Precinct will be a place where small-to-medium enterprises, research and development institutions, wider industry players including international agri-innovation firms and government entities can test, research and develop their products for market.

“The Australian food and beverage sector is a major economic contributor, generating close to $30 billion in export value and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Building upon this base is vital for Australia’s future sustainability and security and provides a growing opportunity to support Murray and other regional communities and expand our economies.

“Western Australia however, trails behind other states in the total value of agricultural produce transformed into manufactured products for overseas markets.

“The Precinct will therefore focus on growing the state’s capacity to manufacture more of its food product locally. It will also assist in building international demand for local brands among consumers willing to pay for quality, premium Western Australian products.

“The Precinct will tackle three key challenges including scaling up of agribusinesses, product creation and diversification through commercial research and development and capturing a greater market share for Western Australian food and beverage,” Cr. Bolt said.

The Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct will comprise a research and development facility, production building and innovation centre which by mid-2022, will house agrifood research and development experts, innovative start-ups, business services related to trade and markets and a one-stop common-use food technology facility.

“The Precinct will explore the creation of a unique brand, trademark and relevant industry certification, which will draw activity to become the one-stop shop for the agri-food community in Western Australia,” Cr. Bolt said.

While physically located in the Peel region, a hub-and-spokes model will be established and digital infrastructure will be used to connect and engage with other agri-food regions.

An Expert in Residence Program will be delivered, focusing on overcoming challenges to growth in the alternative protein industry, which is strongly supported by the Peel Development Commission and the Commonwealth Government.

An Enterprise Support Program currently open for applications, is supporting industry scale-up.

The competitive grant program, a partnership between the Shire of Murray, DevelopmentWA and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, offers up to $200K in dollar for dollar co-funding for agri-businesses seeking to pursue business development, commercial research and development and innovation opportunities.

“Economic modelling indicates that the Precinct could increase Western Australia’s food and beverage sector output between one and three per cent in the first five years of operation.

“This equates to between 17 and 51 new food businesses delivering benefits to the state’s economy, including growth in its food and beverage sector output by between $110M and $330M, injection of between $245M and $737M in other economic sectors, direct job creation of between 169 and 506 jobs and indirect job creation of between 323 and 977 jobs,” Cr. Bolt said.

For further information about the Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct and the Expert in Residence and Enterprise Support Programs:

The Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund.