The State Government has taken a key step in developing thousands of hectares of prime Ord River land in the East Kimberley.
Premier Colin Barnett and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls confirmed Kimberley Agricultural Investment (KAI) as the proponent to lease and create 13,400ha of irrigated farmland as part of the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project.
KAI proposes to invest more than $700million to create new agricultural land in the Goomig and Knox Plain area of the Ord Valley and develop export industries in the region.
The Premier said the KAI proposal included spending $450million to construct a sugar mill; $50million for Wyndham Port improvements; and $200million for farm infrastructure developments.
Mr Barnett said the first stage of the proposal involved the development of the 13,400 hectares of Ord land, representing an initial investment of $200million.
“This deal between the Government and KAI is set to deliver the biggest agricultural development in Australia’s north in more than 40 years,” the Premier said.
“This project will create opportunities for the Miriuwung and Gajerrong people and local communities and demonstrates what can be done when all levels of Government, Traditional Owners and the private sector work together.”
Mr Grylls said this investment marked an exciting new era for the East Kimberley and northern Australia.
“The Liberal National Government’s investment in key infrastructure through this project has built the foundation for the development of a long-term, sustainable agricultural industry in the north of this State,” the Minister said.
“The $311million Royalties for Regions investment has helped to unlock the region’s potential.“
Land will be leased to KAI for terms ranging from 10 to 50 years with options for a 25-year extension, subject to performance.
KAI is required to meet development milestones, including achieving active irrigated agriculture on Goomig and Knox lands and implementing the agreed Aboriginal Development Package, within four years in order to convert to a long term lease.
KAI was named in November last year as the preferred proponent to develop the land.
KAI is an Australian company wholly owned by Shanghai ZhongFu (Group) Co, whose parent company is major Chinese construction group Shanghai Zhongfu Real Estate Co
The $700million KAI proposal includes:
Contract grower opportunities for existing landholders in sugar and rotational cropping
Multiplier effects on local businesses
Potential construction of sugar mill
Future development of co-generation power
Strategy to underpin local indigenous civil contractors
About 350 local jobs
Potential ethanol plant
Potential for medium density fibre board plant annually producing up to 300,000 tonnes
Possible establishment of industrial park at Kununurra
Improvements to Wyndham Port facilities
The State Government has invested in arterial road and irrigation infrastructure to support the Ord expansion
Premier’s office - 6552 5000
Regional Development Minister’s office - 6552 5500