News and updates

Disaster assistance available to help communities recover from damage caused by tropical low

A category B disaster has been declared for the Gascoyne region following the tropical low and associated flooding weather event from 28 January - 8 February 2021. The Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments will continue to monitor the impacts of this event and are ready to extend disaster assistance to those communities in need. Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements information and the assistance measures available to individuals, primary producers, small businesses and the community is available on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website. If you have been impacted, you can also access free Rural West financial counselling services. Gascoyne primary industry members will be supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) during the recovery phase. If you have been impacted, the following support may be available to you;
  • reimbursement of fees up to $1500 to obtain professional advice on business or financial matters, hydrological or soil conservation issues, feed analysis or other stock health issues arising from the declared natural disaster event.
  • reimbursement of some cost associated with freight for recovery.
  • fencing in relation to securing livestock.
  • Free access to Rural West financial counselling services
Refer to the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements page on the DPIRD website for full details. The arrangements provide for reimbursement of costs and an application must be lodged through the department’s online grant system under the declared event AGRN951 - Tropical Low and Associated Flooding (28 January - 8 February 2021) If you have any trouble accessing the system, please email the Rural Business Development Unit or call 1800 198 231. The DPIRD Carnarvon team is already providing intelligence on issues and assessing damage, and additional resources will be on the ground to meet impacted industry. Following a detailed assessment, advice will be provided to Government for consideration. If you have been impacted and would like to arrange an assessment, contact Annie van Blommestein (0429 967 925) or contact the Carnarvon office on 9956 3333.

Prime Gascoyne horticultural land on the market

A land release in Carnarvon opened by the State Government today will significantly expand horticultural production in the Gascoyne, driving new local jobs and helping to build critical mass on the river. Expressions of Interest are invited from experienced parties to establish horticulture enterprises on seven parcels of land, totalling 300 hectares, to the north and east of the Carnarvon horticulture precinct. The prime horticultural land is the State Government's second Gascoyne land release, complementing a Stage One release in 2019. The new land will be supported by a specific water allocation and serviced by a new 25 kilometre pipeline and a reliable electric power supply to guarantee high quality water. The prime horticultural land will be supported by a specific water allocation and serviced by the Northern Borefield developed by the State, which includes a new 25 kilometre pipeline and a reliable electric power supply to guarantee high quality water. The State has entered into a Heads of Agreement with the Gascoyne Water Co-operative (GWC). GWC will deliver water to the new horticultural land and the State has agreed to transfer to GWC the assets and water rights associated with the Northern Borefield. The increase in water sales revenue will provide greater long-term water price security to existing and new horticultural businesses. The land release follows the successful conclusion of a Native Title Agreement with the Yinggarda people in late 2020, which will deliver economic benefits to the traditional custodians of the land. Securing development partners for this rare land release is the culmination of the State Government's Gascoyne Food Bowl Initiative to increase food production, improve sustainable water supplies for irrigated agriculture and capture domestic and export market opportunities for Western Australian fresh produce. More details about the development opportunity and the Expression of Interest process are available at https://agric.wa.gov.au/gascoyne-food-bowl-initiative or https://dplh.wa.gov.au/gascoynefoodbowl DPC media statement: Prime Gascoyne horticultural land on the market Photo (L-R): Shire of Carnarvon President Eddie Smith, Yinggarda Woman Marion Crowe, Gascoyne Water Member Director Dudley Maslen, Minister for Regional Development Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Yinggarda Woman Kath Ryan, Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Hon Kyle McGinn MLC.

Native title agreement secures future for Yinggarda people and expands Gascoyne food bowl

A new native title agreement is set to deliver economic benefits for the Gascoyne region's Yinggarda people and the local horticultural industry. The agreement will support the Yinggarda people in planning for their economic future and protect culturally significant areas. It also marks a significant step in the State Government's Gascoyne Food Bowl Initiative, which aims to increase horticultural production in Carnarvon by providing new land and water resources for irrigation. It paves the way for the full 400-hectare expansion of the Carnarvon horticultural precinct, with a land release for horticultural uses anticipated in the new year. The agreement follows extensive negotiation between the State Government, the Yinggarda Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Australian Agriculture Authority. DPC media statement: Native title agreement secures future for Yinggarda people and expands Gascoyne food bowl

Gascoyne RED Grants supporting business recovery

Economic diversity, resilience, growth and jobs have received a boost in the Gascoyne through the latest round of the State Government's Regional Economic and Development (RED) grants. Nine recipients will share in a total of $836,954 from Round 3 of the RED grants program, announced by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan today. The State Government will provide $200,000 to Dive Ningaloo to refit a catamaran to provide for a new high-end tourism experience, where up to 18 people can live aboard for a week-long dive tour. The project will create a new tourism experience in Exmouth, helping to support local jobs as the economy rebounds from COVID-19. Existing and start-up businesses in Exmouth will benefit from an $80,000 grant to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to create the Exmouth Business Centre to stimulate enterprise development. The Shire of Exmouth will use its $29,250 grant towards installing a new booking platform at the Exmouth Visitor Centre to generate efficiencies and increase local content. Carnarvon recipients include Abacus Fisheries, which will use its $200,000 grant towards procuring cold chain and processing equipment to process cut crabs, which will create more than 40 direct and indirect new jobs. The equipment will also be used to process and value add to locally caught seafood, like prawns, scallops and finfish, stimulating job opportunities and economic growth. The $170,000 Coral Coast Helicopter Services RED grant will go towards building an aircraft hangar and workshop to provide a maintenance and engineering service to the region's growing aviation sector, generating five new jobs after construction is completed. The Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation will use its $39,204 grant to purchase a custom-built food van to extend its mobile meal service and commence events catering, including the use of bush tucker foods and training opportunities. The latest announcement of funds is in addition to the $1.61 million already disseminated to 11 projects in the Gascoyne from the previous two rounds of RED grants. The State Government recently committed an additional $5 million to extend the RED grant program for another year, with a total of $33.8 million to be disseminated to regional communities over six years. DPC media statement: Gascoyne RED Grants supporting business recovery

Capacity-building to start or grow a business available at Gascoyne Aboriginal Business Development Forum

People from a diverse range of backgrounds will come together at the first Gascoyne Aboriginal Business Development Forum next month, with a focus on engaging and empowering existing and potential Aboriginal business owners. The Forum is designed to facilitate the connection of Aboriginal businesses with the necessary knowledge and resources to be successful and sustainable. There will be an emphasis on building capacity to start and grow a business, raising awareness of programs and services available to support Aboriginal businesses and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal entrepreneurs, private sector, industry, government and non-government organisations. Gascoyne Development Commission CEO Tym Duncanson said the Forum would provide access to information about establishing cultural tourism and construction businesses through guest speakers Darren Capewell from Wula Gura Nyindi Eco Adventure Tours and Robbie Mallard from Mallard Contracting. “In addition, Tony Emmott from Business Local will be on hand to talk about all aspects of small business establishment and management,” he said. “The Gascoyne Development Commission supports a strong, diverse and self-sufficient Aboriginal business sector and we’re excited at the prospect of bringing this event to Carnarvon.” The Forum is free to attend, and takes place on Tuesday 20 October from 10.30am-3.30pm at the Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre. For more information, refer to the Gascoyne Aboriginal Business Development Forum event page.

All aboard – $7 million for Carnarvon Fascine solution

The State Government has allocated $7 million to help solve access issues at the Carnarvon Fascine as part of the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan. The funding will see immediate measures implemented to assist with access to the fascine, a long standing issue for Carnarvon residents and visitors. The $7 million will also go towards delivering a permanent solution for access from options developed by the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee. Immediate measures to be implemented in the short term to improve access and provide relief to boat users include:
  • regular movement of the channel markers to ensure boats can safely use the deepest water
  • bringing forward increased mooring infrastructure at the Carnarvon Boat Harbour
  • boat owners currently paying fees in the fascine waterway will stay 'fee free' at the boat harbour until they can return to the fascine
  • provide overland relocation for vessels not able to exit the waterway on their own.
Specialised equipment will be installed next month to collect further data that can be used with recent hydrographic survey results - while necessary environmental approvals are sought - to finalise a plan for the fascine to provide year-round access to the waterway for all craft. A study identifying options for optimal permanent solutions to Fascine access issues has been recently completed by the Shire of Carnarvon and the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee has been established to help advance and guide the project. Members of the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee include representatives from the Shire of Carnarvon, the Department of Transport, the Gascoyne Development Commission and the Carnarvon Yacht Club. The Carnarvon Fascine project was identified as a worthy recipient as part of $300 million in community and sports infrastructure funding allocated across Western Australia to generate work for local small businesses and contractors. Visit inthistogether.wa.gov.au for information about other projects. DPC media statement: All aboard - $7 million for Carnarvon Fascine solution Photo L-R: GDC CEO Tym Duncanson, Chair Andy Munro and Director Regional Development Simmone Van Buerle with Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development.

Plan for Gascoyne region unveiled as part of WA Recovery Plan

The State Government has unveiled a multi-million dollar package for the Gascoyne region as part of the WA Recovery Plan to drive economic and social recovery and create a pipeline of local jobs. The Gascoyne Recovery Plan is focused on getting locals back to work and includes a significant investment in sectors including construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, education and training and agriculture. It will deliver a pipeline of short and long term jobs supporting and strengthening our existing industries, as well as laying the foundation for jobs of the future. The plan also includes a significant investment in infrastructure and programs to drive tourism and create jobs. The State Government's revamped Buy Local policy will ensure local businesses are in the box seat to carry out this work. The plan includes:
  • $7 million for immediate measures to assist with access to the Carnarvon fascine while also finalising and implementing a long term plan
  • $1.3 million towards planning for the redevelopment of the Tantabiddi Boat Ramp facility in Exmouth, to cater for recreational tourists and separate commercial use
  • $1.47 million to upgrade wastewater services to allow for the expansion of the Coral Bay Caravan Park
  • $2.65 million for significant upgrades to visitor access and facilities in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, near Denham including upgrades to:
    • visitor facilities at Monkey Mia including constructing interpretive trails and features and improving dolphin viewing facilities
    • vehicle access and visitor facilities at Steep Point including improving the four-wheel drive access track, new campground infrastructure and the installation of a renewable power supply
    • vehicle access and visitor facilities in Francois Peron National Park including improvements to Peron homestead, and new facilities at Cape Peron and Big Lagoon
    • visitor facilities at Shell Beach Conservation Park including new toilets, shade shelters and interpretation
  • $1.2 million for upgrades to visitor access and facilities in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, near Exmouth including:
    • Constructing the new Over the Range walk trail in Cape Range National Park
    • Upgrading visitor facilities and services in Cape Range National Park, including new facilities at Oyster Stacks, new interpretation and building improvements to the Milyering Visitor Centre and new visitor services at the park headquarters
    • Upgrading vehicle access in Nyinggulu (Ningaloo) Coastal reserves and upgrading park services in Coral Bay
  • $6 million for the Regional Aviation Recovery program to ensure affordable airfares for residents and tourists including between Perth and Exmouth to stimulate visitation between July and October 2020
  • $3 million in total for regional aviation support to ensure a minimum level of service to regional locations Monkey Mia and Carnarvon.
Strengthening Western Australia's health and community infrastructure is a vital component of the WA Recovery Plan:
  • $18.8 million towards operating regional renal hostels including a service in Carnarvon
  • $1.85 million for upgrades to sobering up centres including in Carnarvon
  • $8.32 million for upgrades to air conditioning at police stations in regional WA including Burringurrah Police Station
  • $14 million to widen Minilya-Exmouth Road in Exmouth
  • $6 million towards the realignment of Yardie Creek Road in Exmouth
  • $116 million for the Regional Land Booster Package that will make residential, commercial and industrial lots more affordable including residential lots in Carnarvon and Denham and industrial lots in Carnarvon
  • $4.7 million through the Regional Road Safety Program to upgrade 78 kilometres of Gascoyne roads with shoulder sealing and installation of audible lines, creating around 120 local jobs
  • $2.01 million towards the Police radio network at regional locations converting from analogue to digital including across the Gascoyne
  • $80 million State-wide for targeted maintenance programs for regional social, remote and government workers housing properties, including approximately 100 homes across the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions
  • $141.7 million to refurbish social, remote and government workers housing across WA's ageing housing stock, including approximately 80 homes in the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions
  • $3.81 million to regularise the electricity network in remote communities including Woodgamia, making it safer and more reliable.
As well as supporting existing industries, the Gascoyne Recovery Plan includes a focus on driving investment in renewable energy and new technologies, to create sustainable jobs. It includes Installing Battery Energy Storage Systems to allow more customers to install rooftop solar systems and reduce their power bills, including $7.8 million for Exmouth, $5.8 million for Carnarvon and $600,000 for Gascoyne Junction. Gascoyne residents will also benefit from the State Government's $25 million for free TAFE short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians, with the Job Ready Basics Skill Set being offered from Central Regional TAFE's Carnarvon campus, and $32 million to expand the Lower fees, local skills program and significantly reduce fees across 39 high priority courses. The Gascoyne region will also benefit from a range of State-wide programs included in the WA Recovery Plan. For more information, visit inthistogether.wa.gov.au

Bridging the digital divide for Carnarvon growers

Growers in the Carnarvon horticulture district will soon have access to high-speed broadband under the latest round of the State Government's successful Digital Farm program. The State Government will invest $600,000 to support high-speed, enterprise grade broadband services to about 50 agribusinesses and residents along the Gascoyne River in Carnarvon, across an area of up to 660 square kilometres. The grant from the second round of the Digital Farm Grants Program was awarded to Bunbury-based network company CipherTel, and has had strong cash and in-kind support from the Shire of Carnarvon, local growers and businesses. The State-wide Digital Farm program is progressing strongly, delivering broadband to more than 1,200 agribusinesses, across more than 41,000 square kilometres from Kununurra to the Great Southern under the inaugural round. The $7 million initiative is bridging the 'digital divide' in regional Western Australia by delivering fast, reliable, affordable and scalable broadband outside the fixed line and fixed wireless National Broadband Network. DPC media statement: Bridging the digital divide for Carnarvon growers

Infrastructure upgrades at Quobba Coast Tourism Precinct

The State Government will contribute $1.03 million to deliver infrastructure and amenities to enhance the Quobba Coast tourism precinct, commonly known as 'the Blowholes', located north of Carnarvon. The works include reconstruction of unsealed parking areas with disabled access, new walkways and viewing platforms, additional toilet facilities, an entry statement and interpretive signage. The proposed infrastructure will support accessibility for day-use visitors at the precinct. The investment will also help to control vehicle access to the site, protecting the local vegetation and coastline, and act as a barrier to erosion encroaching on the beachside area. Project funds have been held in trust since 2014, following negotiations between the Shire of Carnarvon and the local community over the Blowholes Reserve Management Plan. Earlier this year, the Shire engaged in a community consultation process and received positive feedback for preliminary concept designs for the proposed works. DPC media statement: Infrastructure upgrades at Quobba Coast Tourism Precinct

Gascoyne Food Festival back on for 2020

The popular Gascoyne Food Festival has been reinstated after it was called off earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the State's hard border, easing of restrictions and the lifting of gathering limits, the iconic festival is now able to go ahead with a number of smaller satellite events throughout the region to showcase local produce and individual venues. The festival's headline event, the iconic Long Table Lunch, has been transformed for 2020 into an evening of canapes on Friday, September 11 in Carnarvon. The festival program will also include the popular Gascoyne Growers Markets, Australia's Biggest Barbecue, guest appearances from MasterChef alumni Brendan Pang and Derek Lau and a cultural food market at Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre. The festival is taking place during August and September 2020 and is supported by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program and the Gascoyne Development Commission. For more information about the event, visit gascoynefood.com.au DPC media statement: Gascoyne Food Festival back on for 2020