Meet the Minister forum held in Northam
May 11, 2018 at 10:59 AM
The Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Minister assisting the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, Alannah MacTiernan was in Northam on 2 May to open the $11.5m Northam Grains Research Facility and the $15m Northam Boulevard Shopping Centre redevelopment, visit the Northam Senior High School and learn about local public and private investment.
This engagement continued at the Meet the Minister forum, where 120 people from across the Wheatbelt heard first hand from Minister MacTiernan about the McGowan Government’s priorities for regional WA around jobs growth and budget repair.
Hosted by the Wheatbelt Development Commission, the Forum was attended by stakeholders including Government Agencies, Local Government, Industry, Chambers of Commerce, CRCs, local businesses and community representatives. Guests included Hon Darren West MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister MacTiernan and the Hon Laurie Graham MLC, Member for the Agricultural Region.
Minister MacTiernan outlined a range of initiatives being undertaken across regional WA and the Wheatbelt, including:
- Economic and social infrastructure investment including the $24m Aged Accommodation Fund; $22m Agricultural Telecommunications Fund and the $5m Digital Farm Program.
- Transport investment including $385m Muchea to Wubin upgrade; $1.2b North Link Project; $275m Bindoon Bypass; $10m East Link WA Orange Route Planning Work; and $7m safety improvements package for Indian Ocean Drive.
- Other investment in key areas including $4.5m Regional New Industries Fund; $1.05m Regional Visitor Centre Sustainability; $4.1m to support conservation and protect WA’s natural resources; Scholarships of up to $30,000 for farmers and innovators in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors; $1m Export Competitiveness Grants Program and $1.4m for whole of region child care for the Wheatbelt (Establishing REED Inc).
- Health investment including $300m for hospital and nursing post upgrades across the Region and tele health services including recent refurbishments to York, Goomalling, Dalwallinu and Wongan Hills Multi-Purpose Services (MPSs) and $200m for new infrastructure at Northam, Merredin, Narrogin and Moora District hospitals.
The Minister expressed her desire for a strong agriculture sector, and emphasised the importance of research in maintaining a competitive advantage of clean, green, quality food.
During the Q & A session, participants were encouraged to raise regional issues and share their ideas and initiatives to drive economic and jobs growth. Topics included:
- strong collaboration across the Wheatbelt on transport, telecommunications and aging in place projects;
- efforts by CRCs to develop and continue to meet community needs including improving access to government services;
- economic opportunities provided by the Region’s proximity to Perth;
- Strength of community life and positive aspects of living in the Wheatbelt.
Participants expressed their thanks to Minister MacTiernan, appreciating her engagement on a wide range of issues underpinning the growth of Regional WA and the Wheatbelt and gave their support for holding similar Forums in the future.