The Chairs of the nine Regional Development Commissions along with the Director General and Deputy Director General of DPIRD attended the Regional Development Council meeting in the Peel region in mid-May. This was a wonderful opportunity for colleagues from all over the state to look at the developments in the region and we were able to show them and explain the development of the Peel Business Park stage 1, showcase the brand new Bushfire Centre of Excellence and receive a briefing from Dr Chris Vas, the General Manager of Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct, the state’s first food innovation Precinct.
In addition, we were also able to receive a briefing from the Mayor and executives from the City of Mandurah about initiatives and plans for the city. The Regional Council was very impressed with the Business Park and the huge potential offered by the WAFIP and saw as we do, that this was a terrific opportunity not only for the region but for the State.
The following week, the Commission was delighted to be involved in two events at the Business Park organised by the Shire of Murray. The first was the official turning of the sod, the commencement of the building of the Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct (WAFIP). The WAFIP will comprise a research and development facility, production building and innovation centre which by mid-2022, will house agrifood research and development experts, innovative start-ups, business services related to trade and markets and a one-stop common-use food technology facility.
This event was attended by Hon Andrew Hastie MP, Member for Canning as the Commonwealth government had provided $21.75m funding for the project. Also speaking at the event was Minister Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development as the State has committed election funding for $10m towards the Food Technology Facility with very important equipment to enable research, small scale production and then the opportunity to scale up for value-adding to the ingredients that are produced in WA.
Image courtesy of Josh Cowling Photography.
This will have a state-wide function where growers and producers throughout the state will have the opportunity to work with Murdoch University and others to ensure that we can value add to the things we grow and produce. With businesses like Spinifex Brewing Co on board who is also going to be located at the WAFIP as well as project partners Murdoch University, GrowHub, Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, the State government and DevelopmentWA, this certainly is going to be an exciting journey. I was very impressed to learn about the amazing number of awards Spinifex Brewing have won overseas and how fitting it is to have them located at the Peel Business Park with the transformation the WAFIP will bring to the state’s food and beverage manufacturing sector.
In the evening there was the launch of the very exciting Enterprise Support Program (ESP). Again, the potential for businesses to be involved in this development is very exciting. Dr Peter Davies from Murdoch University talked about the potential for research and development and also the fact there would be over 200 university students located at the innovation centre as this will now be the headquarters for students studying food sciences. The Enterprise Support Program is currently open for applications and is designed to support industry scale-up. The competitive grant program, a partnership between the Shire of Murray, DevelopmentWA and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, offers up to $200K in dollar-for-dollar co-funding for agri-businesses seeking to pursue business development, commercial research and development and innovation opportunities.
A very significant day at the Peel Business Park and one which will see the development and huge opportunities to come in research, innovation and working so closely with producers.
In other news, as is customary for the Commission, we meet with all elected members of parliament who represent our region and we were delighted to provide a briefing to the new Member for Dawesville, Lisa Munday MLA. While members have responsibilities to their electorate, it is also important for them to understand the importance of the wider regional issues to their electorate. The Commission regularly engages with all local members in the Peel region on a variety of issues and looks forward to continuing this engagement.
Finally, a big congratulations to the Peel Community Legal Service who had their open day at their new premises on Pinjarra Road on 8th May also celebrating their 20 year anniversary of providing free legal advice and advocacy to low income and vulnerable members of the Peel community. This is an incredibly important service to the region and again, with a strong volunteer community board, it has served our region so well in so many important areas and the work they do throughout the region is just so important.
With it having been National Volunteer Week (17-23 May) I just want to acknowledge and thank the generous contributions of all the hundreds of volunteers working to help the many and varied community organisations across the Peel region. Your dedication, commitment and support is truly appreciated and such a vital contribution to helping build a strong & resilient community here in Peel.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter.