​Media release

Boost for agricultural production and trade in Western Australia

7 July 2015

Western Australian farmers will benefit from the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, with key funding initiatives to boost agricultural production, trade, biosecurity, water infrastructure and R&D.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce today visited the Roebuck Export Depot and the Broome Port to highlight the significant investment the White Paper makes to benefit WA farmers and producers.

We’ve consulted widely in preparing this White Paper and I know producers in the west, including here in the Kimberley, face unique challenges across the supply chain that can hinder productivity and trade like distance to market and climate variability,” Minister Joyce said.

“We know it’s a trading state and despite our recently finalised FTAs with China, Japan and Korea, there is still work to be done to realise the benefits of these deals.

“Technical barriers to trade remain, and key to taking advantage of enhanced trading conditions is negotiating health protocols and treatment regimes to access and maintain these markets. That’s why we’re spending $30.8 million on reducing technical barriers to trade, and to provide five new agriculture counsellors in overseas markets to push Australia’s quality produce.

We are also investing $500 million in water infrastructure projects, and there are great opportunities in the West like the Ord Stage 3 and Wellington Dam modernisation that could benefit from funding.

“Our biosecurity system underpins agricultural productivity in the west and pests and diseases represent a significant cost for our producers and seriously impinge on profitability.

The White Paper will invest an additional $200 million over four years to improve our ability to understand, detect and respond to pests and diseases that could hurt our farmers.

“We’ve also extended the Rural R&D for Profit Programme until 2012–22, with an additional $100 million for rural R&D to keep our farmers at the cutting edge of technology and continue to boost productivity into the future.

“These investments in the future are underpinned by support measures to assist farmers experiencing hardship—and the White Paper has allocated $2.97 billion to support farmers and rural communities experiencing drought, as well as to strengthen drought preparedness and risk management.”

The gross value of agricultural production in WA in 2012–13 was $6.7 billion, 14 per cent of Australia’s total production and the state supplies important markets overseas with critical food sources like cattle and grain.

The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation—more than 1000 submissions were received and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing this document. The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au​.