WA Premier Colin Barnett
Construction Begins On $220 Million Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project
Victor P Taffa
The Liberal-National Government’s transformation of the State’s North-West took another step forward today with the start of work to build 22 new agricultural lots as part of the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project.
The first phase of works on the Weaber Plains area will involve construction of 19 km of irrigation channel, 14km road extension and irrigation control structures.
Premier Colin Barnett and Regional Development and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls were in Kununurra to mark the event with representatives of the successful contractor, the Moonamang Joint Venture between Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd and Indigenous Business Australia.
“Expanding the Ord River into a world-class agricultural precinct was a key election promise in 2008 and is being realised just 18 months later.” Premier Barnett said.
“On completion, the project will increase the Ord irrigation area from 14,000 ha to 22,000 ha, with the first release of the new agricultural blocks, following environmental approvals, expected by the end of this year.”
“Today we mark the start of a major infrastructure project that will encourage diverse agricultural production and provide unprecedented opportunities for local indigenous people to participate in and benefit from the project.”
“The involvement of Aboriginal people as joint venture partners and the inclusion of training and employment opportunities for the local Miriuwung Gajerrong people have been key drivers of this project.” the Premier said.
“I congratulate the JV partners for their work with local indigenous people to provide training, business and employment opportunities.”
Mr. Grylls said the project would diversify the economic base of the region and provide long term benefits.
“This project is a great demonstration of what can be achieved through a commitment to a vision that will provide great social and economic benefits to the East Kimberley and its residents beyond the initial construction phase.” Mr. Grylls said.
The Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project will increase the Ord irrigation area from 14,000ha to 22,000ha. The new subdivision is expected to yield 22 new agricultural lots.
The project is being funded by the State Government through the Royalties for Regions program and is being complemented by a $195 Million East Kimberley Development Package of community infrastructure and services works funded by the Federal Government.