The Nationals WA have labelled Grower Groups as economically beneficial to local and regional communities.
A recent study has backed this view, finding WA grower groups have generated a total economic value of $3 billion in over a 25 year period equating to approximately $120m/year for the WA economy.
The Grower Group Alliance (GGA) contracted strategic management consultancy company ‘Agknowledge’ to undertake an independent review and analysis of grower groups in WA to determine the economic and social value they provide to the WA economy.
The Nationals WA Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge MLC said the study clearly proves the value grower groups have in regional WA.
“WA agricultural grower groups became another victim in Labor’s war on Royalties for Regions, after it was confirmed $6 million would be cut from the Grower Group Research and Development Grant (GGRDG) program in the State Budget,” Mr Aldridge said.
“The Royalties for Regions-funded GGRDG program was initiated by the previous Government, and championed by The Nationals WA as part of the Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture initiative.
“Labor needs to have a hard look at the facts in this report, and re-examine its decision to reduce funds from the regions to fund metro-based projects.”
Mr Aldridge said the State Government claims to be focused on job creation, yet it is slashing funding from a program that facilitates local employment, training and development.
The Nationals WA said the reduction in funding illustrated Labor’s lack of understanding of the social and economic benefits grower groups delivered throughout regional WA.
The Nationals WA Member for the Agricultural Region and spokesperson for Agriculture, Hon Colin de Grussa MLC said the study was a comprehensive desktop review of grower groups, with surveys from farmers, research and development corporations, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, consultants, sponsors and partners.
“This study has highlighted the significant value that grower groups deliver in WA to their members and the agricultural industry but also the wider WA economy,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Grower groups in WA invest a total of around $12m/per year in local research, development and extension activities which represents a 10:1 cost benefit ratio. They have strong support from RD&E within the Agricultural sector as they have proven to be a vital part of the structure of the State’s primary industries but this Labor government has failed to see that.”
Mr de Grussa urged government to reconsider its funding reductions and to strengthen its investment in the grower group network.
“The Nationals WA will hold the Labor Government to account to ensure our incredible agriculture industry is not put on the back burner,” he said.