Water for Food is a key component of the State Government’s broader Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative which provides a boost to regional Western Australian communities through the development and diversification of the WA agriculture and food sector.
The initiative targets the delivery of the Liberal-National Government’s election commitment to increase the economic value of regional primary industries. New ground water investigations led by the Department of Water will support the development, growth and expansion of exciting agricultural and pastoral projects across the State.
Water for Food is a joint-government agency project led by the Department of Water in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, the Department of Lands and the Department of Regional Development. Each agency plays a vital role in the Water for Food program as stated below.
Department of Agriculture and Food WA
Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) is contributing to six Water for Food projects, ranging from the Bonaparte Plains, north of Kununurra, to the Southern Forests region on the south coast. We are conducting detailed assessments of agricultural land and water resources to support development on many of the Water for Food activity areas. On different sites, our role includes:
- assisting in designing and interpreting airborne geophysics
- conducting soil and water analyses
- assessing land capability of development areas
- supporting Department of Water to design and implement groundwater investigations
- assessing agricultural options to develop identified areas
- liaising with agricultural industries and growers
- supporting government to develop expressions of interest for new developments.
Department of Lands
Department of Lands (DoL) is contributing to six Water for Food projects in the Kimberley region, providing Crown land administration expertise and strategy. DoL identifies suitable land tenure options on Crown land to support irrigated agriculture proposals under the Land Tenure Pathway for Irrigated Agriculture (LTPIA) enabling proponents to obtain more secure land tenure allowing diversification into high-value intensive irrigated agriculture. Department of Land's role includes:
- Developing a policy framework, supporting materials and information package to assist proponents to understand the opportunities, risks, timeframes and costs associated with their proposals
- Consulting with proponents and stakeholders who are seeking land tenure options to underpin high-value irrigated agriculture where water is available
- Educating potential proponents and stakeholders, including pastoralists, third party investors and Native Title parties about the LTPIA processes
- Providing support and guidance to proponents to assist them in stepping through each stage of the LTPIA from initial tenure investigation through to the granting of long term tenure
- Progressing applications for irrigated agriculture from assessing Crown land enquiries and project proposals through to facilitating submission of proposals to the Minister for Lands and Cabinet for approval
- Conducting detailed tenure investigation in relation to land access, underlying tenure and interests, registered encumbrances, native title and other considerations
- Undertaking statutory referrals and approvals in consultation with relevant agencies and stakeholders in relation to LTPIA project proposals
- Facilitate and undertake land assembly
- Facilitating the release of suitable land through a competitive process for required projects
- Undertaking interagency and strategic consultation supporting government in progressing proposals for irrigated agriculture
Department of Regional Development
As the coordinator for the Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture (STOA) initiative, the Department of Regional Development (DRD) ensures Water for Food’s integration with other STOA initiatives, for example:
- Encouraging agribusinesses, through WA Open for Business, to consider greenfield investments opportunities being created through Water for Food
- Linking producers from Water for Food to premium consumer markets through the Asian Market Success project.
As Water for Food is funded by Royalties for Regions, DRD also seeks to ensure that the development of Water for Food’s various components will contribute to creating vibrant regions with strong economies – consistent with the Regional Development Strategy and relevant Regional Investment Blueprints, where components of Water for Food are being delivered.