News & Media

Wheatbelt issues on agenda at meeting

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 15. August 2013 - 11:30

A cross-section of agribusiness met today to examine key issues facing farm businesses and communities in the Eastern Wheatbelt and to map out a sustainable pathway forward.                                                             

More than 35 people met from across the agribusiness sector including farm businesses, banks, agricultural consultants, the Rural Business Development Corporation, Focusing Forward study tour group participants and State Government.

Discussion focused on three key areas: immediate challenges for people and communities in the region; challenges and opportunities for individual businesses over the next six to 18 months; and how to develop a sustainable and profitable industry over the longer term.

Department of Agriculture and Food Director General Rob Delane said farm businesses, particularly in the Eastern Wheatbelt, were facing challenging times.

“There is a strong future for the region, but many businesses are currently dealing with chronic issues as a result of tough seasonal conditions and other business cost pressures,” Mr Delane said.

“This meeting has brought together a range of views to help map out a way forward.

“The group recognised the importance of engaging across industry, particularly at a farm level, to ensure people had the opportunity to be involved and contribute.

“We’ve taken a positive step today, but the work needs to continue. For this to be successful, industry as a whole will need to drive this process and DAFWA is ready to support this work.”

Priorities, issues and actions which had been identified during the meeting will be taken forward by key taskforce groups and individuals identified through the workshop.

Priority areas identified included additional resources to support community social networks, strong engagement at a regional level and compulsory debt mediation.

“This needs to have a strong regional focus and we are planning a follow-up meeting at Merredin on 26 September, coinciding with the 100th anniversary Merredin research station field day,” Mr Delane said.


Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison          +61 (0)8 9368 3937