- McGowan Government allocates almost $4 million to install power and progress the establishment of a cotton gin in the East Kimberley
- Cotton gin to support a resurgent cotton industry in the Ord, generating economic growth and local jobs
A job-creating cotton processing plant in the East Kimberley is another step closer, with the McGowan Government allocating almost $4 million to upgrade, with the assistance of Horizon Power, electricity supply infrastructure and progress approvals.
A total of $3.5 million will support the installation of a high voltage power supply line and network upgrade to supply clean, renewable power from the Pac Hydro's Lake Argyle generation system to the proposed site for a cotton gin on Mulligans Lagoon Road.
A further $481,000 in matched funding has been allocated to progress preliminary design work and approvals for the cotton gin.
The establishment of a gin to separate and clean the cotton fibre is central to the development of a viable industry in the State's north, which would otherwise need to transport cotton for processing to Queensland, reducing profit margins.
A recent study indicated a new cotton gin could create more than 1,000 local jobs in its first 10 years, generating $1.19 billion in cotton lint exports and additional value add benefits from retaining cotton seed as feed for the local cattle industry.
Cotton trials in the Ord River Irrigation Area over the past four years using the new generation Bollgard3 variety, with improved pest and disease resistance, have proven successful, with 1,200 hectares grown across the irrigation area in 2020.
The McGowan Government continues to support efforts to build a sustainable local cotton industry in the north with a group of local investors led by the Ord River District Co-operative (ORDCO), Kimberley Agricultural Investment Pty Ltd and the MG Corporation.
This latest commitment is in addition to a State Government Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund grant to ORDCO in 2020 to assist the development of a business model and governance arrangements for the cotton gin.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Today's announcement will ensure a reliable, efficient, clean power supply for the Kimberley cotton gin, using hydroelectricity with zero carbon emissions, highly desired by the discerning global marketplace - increasing the competitiveness of the business.
"I look forward to seeing this vision realised and the enduring economic growth and jobs it will create for the East Kimberley and beyond."
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"With the State Government, growers and traditional owners working towards this shared vision, we are confident we can get a cotton gin off the ground in Kununurra - and this funding is a major step forward.
"Commercial cotton trials demonstrate the Ord region can grow a high-quality, high yielding crop, which has given local growers confidence to push ahead with establishing a sustainable cotton industry including local processing.
"We have seen fantastic collaboration between the East Kimberley groups involved in this project, including growers and traditional owners, working towards a common goal to bring transformational economic and social benefits to the region for generations to come."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 6200