The State Government’s vision for the development of Carnarvon as a significant regional hub will receive a $5.5million boost during the next three years.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said support for the Carnarvon 2020 Strategy in the State Budget, with an allocation of $2.3million for 2005-06, demonstrated the Government’s commitment to this major regional development.
“Innovative projects such as this are essential to broaden the economic and social base of the Gascoyne region,” Mr Chance said.
“They are an example of the Gallop Government’s commitment to improving the quality of services to all Western Australians wherever they live.”
The Minister said the strategy focused on four key components including the development of two new horticulture precincts, eco-tourism area and the provision of a sustainable water resource for future generations.
“As a priority for this development, the future of the Carnarvon Artesian Basin water supply will be secured with the project focused on rehabilitating free flowing bores within the basin,” he said.
“This will involve the decommissioning and rehabilitation of bores. Once completed, the total amount of water expected to be saved each year is estimated at 87 gigalitres or about 10 per cent of the water in Sydney Harbour.”
Mr Chance said economic growth would come from the development of 800ha of land in the Gascoyne-Murchison region, identified as economically and environmentally viable horticultural areas.
The Meedo Horticulture Precinct - 150km south-east of Carnarvon and the Brickhouse Horticulture Precinct - east of the current irrigation area, were expected to raise agricultural production by a combined $40million and generate about 480 jobs.
“A lot of planning and preparation is already complete, and the Brickhouse project is now ready to begin,” the Minister said.
“The Government will assist with the high initial up-front costs to establish production bores and mains delivery to ensure the precinct goes ahead.
“At Meedo, drilling is under way to confirm water availability and allocations. Once all the approvals and clearances have been received, commercial expressions of interest will be sought.”
On the tourism front, Mr Chance said the establishment of a coastal eco-tourism precinct was expected to bring an $8million windfall to the Carnarvon and Gascoyne regions.
“The Quobba Coast Eco-Tourism Precinct will be one of the first projects that will be guided by the new Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coastal Management Strategy,” he said.
“The new precinct will maximise the natural features of the unique Quobba Coastline and working pastoral station, while ensuring the environment is protected.
“The nodes being considered for small scale development were identified through a public consultation process.”
The Minister said the project would also pilot eco-structures in the region, including solar/wind power and water and toilet waste that could be utilised by agri-tourism operators throughout the Gascoyne and Murchison. Funding would also be provided for rehabilitation of severely degraded coastline.
“This new tourism initiative is also linked to the recently launched Gascoyne Murchison Outback Pathways Project, which aims to bring tourists inland from the Mid-West and Gascoyne Coasts,” Mr Chance said.
He said the State Government had partnered with the Shire of Carnarvon, Department of Agriculture, Gascoyne Murchison Strategy and the Gascoyne Development Commission to identify and co-ordinate priority regional projects with significant benefit to the Gascoyne region and Carnarvon.
Minister's office: 9213 6700