THE WESTERN Australian Government has locked in $320 million for a new world-class agricultural facility, which will house the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) and Intergrain upon its completion in 2027.
The facility will be built on Murdoch University’s Perth campus, and feature modern laboratory and technical workspaces for about 350 staff.
It will replace outdated and interim laboratory facilities in use at South Perth, many of which date back to the 1950s.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the laboratories and technical workspaces will support biosecurity, market-access and primary industries research and development.
He said the site will also feature a glasshouse complex, field plots and an incident and emergency management operational centre.
“This is a once-in-a-generation investment which will serve Western Australia and our primary industries for many decades to come,” Mr McGowan said.
“This will be a modern facility delivering world-class science, which will strengthen our biosecurity capability and access to valuable export markets into the future.
“It will help to keep WA’s farmers at the cutting edge of science, backing their important contribution to our State.”
WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said agricultural research was vital in keeping the industry resilient to threats from climate change and biosecurity incursions.
“WA’s primary industries make an enormous economic contribution to our State and especially the regions, valued at $11.7 billion and growing,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Research and development has been critical to supporting our farmers to increase profitability with ongoing climate challenges.
“As we become more integrated globally, we see biosecurity risks increasing exponentially.
“We must have the best tools to protect our industry.”
Grains industry to benefit
AEGIC interim CEO Ken Quail said the new facilities would allow AEGIC to deliver even more value on behalf of the Australian grains industry.
“Being co-located with other key grains industry partners, including Intergrain and DPIRD, will allow AEGIC to further strengthen our collaborative approach to research, market insight and innovation,” Dr Quail said.
“This investment will significantly boost Australia’s grains research and development capacity and will deliver value for many years to come.
“In addition, this facility will provide an excellent base for in-person engagement with our international grains customers and will demonstrate a new level of the importance Australia places on grains R&D.”
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has also come out in support of the new facility.
GRDC chair John Woods said the planned precinct would be an exceptional outcome for agriculture in WA.
“As a key investor in DPIRD, AEGIC and Intergrain, alongside a number of grains research organisations in WA including Murdoch University, we are delighted and strongly supportive of this announcement by the WA Government,” Mr Woods said.
“The WA Government is taking a visionary approach to research and development infrastructure, with this precinct likely to deliver benefit to WA growers for decades to come.”
Mr Woods said he looked forward to continuing GRDC’s close working relationship with DPIRD, AEGIC and Intergrain with the mutual goal of delivering innovative research, development and extension for the State’s grain growers.
“GRDC has a long history of investing in RD&E in WA, and we look forward to building on that through our ongoing involvement with key research partners.”
Source: WA Government, AEGIC, GRDC