Wheatbelt grant boost

Funding boost: Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan with Regional Economic Development grant recipients. Photo: Supplied.
Funding boost: Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan with Regional Economic Development grant recipients. Photo: Supplied.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan visited Northam last week to congratulate local organisations receiving government grants.

The state government's Regional Economic Development (RED) grants program aims to assist small businesses and to grow tourism experiences outside the metropolitan region.

The Wheatbelt region has received $688,990 in the first round of the program, with $23.9 million allocated across WA over four years.

Eight Wheatbelt projects will receive RED grants, set to create a number of new job opportunities in the region.

Avon Valley Beef will receive $190,000 in funding to install a new automated lamb supply chain at its Northam abattoir.

This will facilitate the tripling of lamb processing and enable both sheep and cattle to be processed at the same time.

Lamb and sheep processing is estimated to increase from 600 head per day to a maximum of 3600 head per day, creating opportunities for producers to increase supply and provide more locally processed sheepmeat products to markets.

The abattoir expansion will provide an estimated 30 new jobs in Northam.

The Gravity Discovery Centre Foundation Inc will use a $190,000 grant to build accommodation at the Gravity Discovery Centre to provide visitors to the observatory with an experience linked to Aboriginal culture.

The Wheatbelt Business Network will receive $60,000 to deliver a training program to help existing small businesses grow and diversify and to assist in the start-up of new businesses.

Ms MacTiernan said the grant program would help the Wheatbelt area thrive.

"The Wheatbelt is the largest agricultural producing region in the state and our government is backing stronger growth in the sector," she said.

"Supporting the Gravity Discovery Centre's accommodation project will create a new tourist experience.

"By investing in a variety of regional initiatives, the state government is helping to grow WA's regional areas into thriving and sustainable communities."