John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Expressions of Interest now open for Ord River Stage Two

    17/09/2006 9:10 AM
     
    17/9/06

    The State Government has called for expressions of interest from the private sector to participate in the expansion of the Ord River Irrigation Area in the East Kimberley.

    The expansion could double the size of the irrigation scheme, which began in 1967 as a visionary agricultural project.

    Resources Minister John Bowler said newspaper advertisements this weekend had called for expressions of interest from proponents to develop up to 16,000ha in the second stage of the irrigation area.

    Mr Bowler said the move represented a great opportunity for members of the private sector to participate in the development of additional farming businesses in the region.

    “The successful proponent is expected to develop a minimum of 7,000ha for irrigated agriculture and the State Government is keen to see the involvement of independent farmers in the project,” he said.

    “We expect proponents to include details of the project concept, their experience and background, a capability statement and to demonstrate an understanding and commitment to the requirements of the Ord Final Agreement between the State Government, the Miriuwung Gajerrong people and other parties.”

    The Ord River Irrigation Area straddles the Western Australian and Northern Territory border. The existing Ord Stage One consists of about 13,000ha of irrigated farmland on the Ivanhoe and Packsaddle Plains of WA.

    The Minister said current crops in the Ord area included sugar cane, chickpeas, hybrid seeds, cucurbits and citrus trees, with a gross farm value of about $54million.

    “The State Government acknowledges that there is a demand for the development of further irrigated land in the Ord River Irrigation Area,” he said.

    “The Government is committed to overseeing the next stage of the Ord development which will build wealth and capacity in the East Kimberley region through optimising the use of its resources and infrastructure.”

    Kimberley MLA Carol Martin welcomed Mr Bowler’s announcement.

    “This project is so important to the future of the East Kimberley region,” Mrs Martin said.

    “Its potential is unlimited, the challenges exciting and the rewards are only restricted by the imagination.”

    Mr Bowler said expression of interest submissions must be completed by December 15.

    The Minister said the selection of a successful proponent was expected to be finalised by the second half of 2007 and the farming land could be available for development by 2008, depending on Government approvals and project funding.

    More details on the project and the expressions of interest can be found on Department of Industry and Resources website at: http://www.doir.wa.gov.au/OrdStage2EOI

    Applicants who have already registered their interest in the project will be notified that a copy of the expressions of interest document can be downloaded online.

    Minister's office - 9222 8950