Local MP Mia Davies has welcomed the news that State Minister for Agriculture Alannah MacTiernan is considering relocating the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to Northam.
“I am delighted Ms MacTiernan said she was discussing a potential move with Director General Ralph Addis and she has my full support if that’s a move being considered,” Ms Davies said.
“Relocating DPIRD to Northam, even in part, would bring so many benefits to the region.
“The Nationals WA have a decade-long policy calling on companies and government departments that operate in regional WA to move their workforces away from Perth,” she said.
“If the Minister is serious about decentralising the department, which deals primarily with regional issues, then the time to demonstrate this in more than just words is next week when the State budget is handed down.”
Ms Davies said there had been significant private sector and Government investment into the town over the past eight years that made it well placed to cater for an increased workforce.
“Upgrades to the school, hospital, recreation facilities, new business investment and our close proximity to the city and connection to the hinterland make it a great place to live and work,” she said.
The Nationals WA Member for the Agricultural Region, Hon Martin Aldridge MLC said the Minister’s latest commitment to funding R&D was welcome in the wake of the $6 million cut she made to the Grower Group Research and Development Grant program last year.
“The Minister must ensure a portion of new R&D money she has announced goes back into the grower group system, which provides highly valuable research and data benefiting all of industry,” he said.
“Seeing her agency relocated primarily to the regions would greatly assist the R&D capacity of Western Australia and provide vital on-the-ground support to farmers and industry.
“In such a globally competitive grains environment it is paramount that WA agriculture remains at the cutting edge of technology, research and production.”