A recent trip across the Tasman has provided DPIRD’s Agribusiness, Food and Trade team invaluable insight to help plan and develop the Peel Agri-Innovation Precinct.

Principal Business Development Manager Terry Burnage joined Shire of Murray CEO Dean Unsworth, Manager Investment Attraction David Arkwright, and Murdoch University Pro-Vice Chancellor of Agriculture Peter Davies, to explore and learn from the New Zealand Food Innovation Network.

DPIRD has been supporting the Peel Development Commission and Shire to formulate a strategy for investment and operation of the precinct that will be located at Peel Business Park.

Almost $22 million has been allocated from the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Growth fund to build the precinct.

Terry said successful innovation parks were more than bricks and mortar and relied upon synergies and infrastructure.

“The New Zealand Food Innovation Network is an accessible, national network of science and technology resources created to support the growth and development of food and beverage business of all sizes,” Terry said.

“Through this network, the Kiwis have been successful in building new export-competitive businesses and creating new jobs in regional areas.”

The Western Australian delegation visited the Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton and the Auckland foodbowl – two of the six hubs that comprise the network.

“By gaining an understanding on the success of these two entities, we identified the Peel region could fast track its pathways to design and build appropriate infrastructure and systems to support agrifood businesses to grow and prosper,” Terry said.

“We were provided with in depth insights about the development and operation of the Waikato facility, which now hosts 60 businesses that collectively export about $600 million of products and services per year.

“Overall, the visit was very informative and the excellent relationships built with our Kiwi hosts provide us with the ability to tap into this valuable experience for the Peel Agri-Innovation Precinct.”

Photo left to right: Peter Davies, Dean Unsworth CEO Shire of Murray, Stuart Gordon CEO Waikato Innovation Park, David Arkwright Manager Investment Attraction Shire of Murray, Terry Burnage, outside the entrance to the Waikato Innovation Park.

This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2019 – vol 5.1 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.