Minister says SW vital cog in plan to double agricultural production

Lincoln BertelliSouth Western Times
Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder and Agriculture Minister Mark Lewis inspect a water pipe as part of the Collie Water project.
Camera IconHarvey Water general manager Geoff Calder and Agriculture Minister Mark Lewis inspect a water pipe as part of the Collie Water project.

Agriculture Minister Mark Lewis has described the South West as offering a “significant opportunity” to turn a State plan to double agriculture production into reality.

Mr Lewis visited Harvey earlier this month to discuss the Collie Water proposal, which is a project aiming to reduce salinity in the Wellington Dam.

Collie Water, a joint venture between Harvey Water Cooperative and Aqua Ferre Holdings Pty Ltd, could play a key role in the Government’s aim to double the value of the agriculture industry’s output.

The water plan would explore the possibility of finding extra usable water in the South West and adding to the existing network.

“There is a significant opportunity to increase the amount of water into the existing irrigation areas,” Mr Lewis said.

“We are looking at the potential to expand into the Harvey irrigation area.”

Mr Lewis said pine plantations which had been destroyed in January’s bushfires could provide extra land that had underground water supplies available.

“That is another opportunity which has come out of the sad issue around the bushfires,” he said.

“That is a potentially valuable agricultural resource with water resources sitting under that.”

Mr Lewis’ visit covered a number of areas and included a lunch at the WA College of Agriculture.

One of the attendees at the lunch was Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance chief executive Matt Granger, who said it was also a chance for the South West to showcase itself.

“It was a tremendous opportunity for the business and local government leaders, as members of the Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance, to engage with the minister,” Mr Granger said.

“In the space of half a day, the remarkable diversity, productivity and ingenuity of growers, a key food processor and water service provider was demonstrated to the minister.”

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