Strategic investment in infrastructure will support the growth of WA’s agriculture food and fibre sectors, enable the creation of new jobs, as well as improve income and prospects for businesses and communities in regional WA.
Increased global demand for agricultural products represents a significant opportunity for Western Australia to grow its agriculture and food sectors. The Western Australian Government aims to capitalise on this demand and double the value of WA’s agrifood sector between 2013 and 2025. To grow the value of agrifood production to $13.2 billion by 2025 will require real growth of 5.9% p.a., with the majority of this growth driven by exports. Key drivers of export growth include productivity growth, the development of underutilised land, value-adding to primary produce, and the provision of post- farm gate infrastructure.
Purpose of this project
As part of the Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative, and to help inform agricultural infrastructure priorities, the Department of Regional Development (DRD) commissioned Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct an Agricultural Infrastructure Audit (the Audit). The Audit has been undertaken in conjunction with a multi-agency Steering Group with representatives from Departments of Regional Development, Agriculture and Food, Water, Transport, and State Development. The aim of the Audit is to determine infrastructure priority areas that will support the growth of WA’s agriculture food and fibre sectors, enable the creation of new jobs as well as improve income and prospects for WA businesses and communities. The outcomes of this Audit will guide what infrastructure projects will be considered by Government for the allocation of up to $75 million via a dedicated Infrastructure Investment Fund (the Fund).
The Audit covers the following areas:
► Freight / transport roads, rail, ports & airports.
► Production storage, packaging & processing.
► Other possible constraints to efficient supply chains such access to land, water, energy, telecommunications, and labour.
This report is the final deliverable of the Audit and represents the culmination of over six months of data gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement. It has been informed by an extensive literature review and consultations with businesses, government staff and academics working in the agrifood industry (see Appendix E and F for full lists of the documents reviewed and the stakeholders engaged). To compile this report, EY mobilised a multistage screening and evaluation process for opportunity identification across three distinct phases:
1. Desktop review: a review of over 100 relevant agriculture and infrastructure documents across WA’s agriculture food and fibre sectors to identify constraints and opportunities.
2. Stakeholder consultations: engagement with over 200 stakeholders to evaluate agribusiness and industry perspectives on infrastructure constraints and opportunities.
3. Analysis and recommendations: development of an Initiative Database to collect, categorise, screen and evaluate the almost 500 initiatives collected during Phase 1 and 2 of the Audit. In consultation with the Steering Group, a set of criteria were then developed to rationalise and evaluate the initiatives.
A qualitative screen filtered out duplicate initiatives and initiatives that did not comply with the following rationalisation criteria: ► Hard infrastructure. ► Common use infrastructure. ► Contributes to growth / jobs. ► Funding required. This reduced the list of initiatives to 139. Each of these initiatives was then rated as high, medium, or low against the following evaluation criteria: ► Contributes to growth / jobs. ► Leverage opportunity. ► Cross-sector benefits. ► Cross-industry benefits. ► Transformation potential. ► Stakeholder support. At the conclusion of the evaluation process, 17 initiatives emerged with a medium or high rating. A tailored version of Infrastructure Australia’s approach was then used to classify the 17 medium and high initiatives into a WA Agriculture Priority List. This list classifies initiatives by infrastructure category and stage of development. In consultation with the Steering Group, a series of recommendations on priority infrastructure were then developed. The 17 medium and high rated initiatives were split into Priority 1, 2 and 3 recommendations to facilitate staged application of investment funds.