Agriculture Minister Ernie Bridge was in Carnarvon today to launch the Carnarvon Development Council - a group comprising grower and Government representatives, set up to maximise opportunities for local horticulture production.
Mr Bridge said the 16-member council would be predominantly driven by local growers and had been designed along similar lines to the successful Ord River Development Council.
"Enormous opportunities exist to consolidate the already impressive achievements of local growers, and the formation of this new council will ensure a direct conduit between growers and myself as Minister," he said.
The Gascoyne horticulture industry, covering about 1,000 hectares of land along the Gascoyne River, produced fruit and vegetables worth $38 million last year - a 27 per cent increase on production the previous year,
Crops are grown under irrigation, using water pumped from aquifers in the sands of the Gascoyne River.
The region accounted for about 15 per cent of vegetables and about 70 per cent of all bananas produced in Western Australia in 1991.
Mr Bridge said the council would:
· plan, recommend and initiate action to encourage sustainable horticultural development;
· periodically review the status of horticulture and related industries of the Gascoyne;
· assess factors influencing development; and
· be the primary contact point for information about horticulture in the Gascoyne.
Council members include 11 grower representatives covering the Gascoyne River Co-op, the Carnarvon Growers Association, Carnarvon Irrigation District Advisory Committee and Carnarvon Water Resources Committee, and five Government officers from the Water Authority of WA and Departments of Agriculture and State Development. Mr Bridge will chair the council.