Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    New horticultural opportunities for State's north

    30/11/2007 2:01 PM

    The State Government today announced a major initiative to involve indigenous communities in the development of new horticultural industries in the State’s north.

    Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance launched the joint Community Gardens - Growing People project in Broome today, which is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Kimberley College of TAFE.

    Mr Chance said the initiative would encourage, train and support indigenous people in the Kimberley and Pilbara to take a more active role in the thriving horticultural industry.

    “This is a unique and exciting project to develop sustainable and viable horticultural industries which foster indigenous equity and opportunity,” he said.

    “The project is part of the State Government’s New Opportunities for Tropical and Pastoral Agriculture (NOTPA) and builds on the good work TAFE has already achieved through its training programs.”

    The State Government has committed $2million to fund NOTPA to identify and develop new opportunities for tropical and pastoral agriculture in the West Kimberley and the Pilbara.

    The Minister said a number of sites, stretching from Bidyadanga to the Dampier Peninsula, would be utilised as Community Gardens demonstration sites and training venues.

    “The project will focus on the cultivation of traditional native plants with economic potential such as the bush plum, Gubinge, as well as conventional fruits and vegetables,” he said.

    “Cultivation techniques will be based on leading edge technology in irrigation and agronomy using an ultra low impact method known as enrichment planting.

    “There will also be specialised training to maximise the involvement of local people in these new agricultural and horticultural opportunities.”

    Mr Chance said the project would also assess the potential for the cultivation and sustainable wild harvest of other important traditional plants including the Pindan walnut, bush tomatoes, and desert yams.

    “Some would say the north of Australia is the country’s ‘sleeping giant’ of agriculture, with real potential to develop new industry opportunities,” he said.

    “This project will involve our indigenous communities in maximising those opportunities, helping to foster healthy lifestyles and sustainable employment.”

    The demonstration sites have been made available through a four-way partnership between Kimberley TAFE, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Traditional Owners of the area.

    Other partners in the Community Gardens - Growing People project include Charles Darwin University, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, and Kings Park Gardens Perth.

    Minister's office - 9213 6700