Report outlines infrastructure and policy needs for region
A NEWLY released report has delivered a high-level review of the vital infrastructure and policy development needs of the West Moreton region to boost its huge agricultural capability.
The Regional Development Australia Ipswich and West Moreton Agricultural Needs Analysis conducted about 125 community consultations to identify the requirements towards boosting economic growth and productivity.
The 13,000sqkm region encompasses the city of Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim regional councils.
RDAIWM Chair Janice Holstein said the report unveiled the massive potential of the region.
The document will serve as a foundation reference for all levels of government and potential investors for what is already being planned and, perhaps more importantly, what is needed in the coming years.
"Our region produces more than $783million worth of agricultural commodities,” she said.
"The needs analysis is based on the premise that the objective of all organisations in the region is to build on the established reputation and agricultural capability of the area.
"This objective can be achieved by enhancing the ability of producers and those in the supply chain to more efficiently and productively deliver goods and services.”
The continuing population growth and increasing consumer demand from Brisbane solidified the need to strengthen the relationship between city and country.
The wants and needs from consumers in Brisbane will increasingly dictate what is produced just an hour or two away.
One of the RDA's key recommendations was to seize more opportunities to reflect the "mutually reinforcing nature of the relationship” between the region and the greater Brisbane area.
"It's kind of like a yin and yang effect,” RDAIWM chief executive officer Rees Banks said.
"We need that population base to use or buy that product but they also need us to produce it.
"I don't think anybody has really embraced that.”
The full report is available for viewing from the Regional Development Australia website.
Water and roads will prove key
Watersecurity will be the most important factor towards the continuing growth of the agricultural industry in the West Moreton region.
The Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Collaborative was established earlier this year and they were successful in securing $1.9million in funding to develop a business case.
The collaborative is a combined effort between the two local regional councils and a number of stakeholders.
Rural Development Australia Ipswich and West Moreton chair Janice Holstein said a lot would be riding on what the initiative could achieve and not just for the direct benefit of farmers.
"I think, depending where that leads, it may alter possibilities,” Mrs Holstein said.
"It's not just production, it's recreational possibilities as well.
"I think that's something that could really be expanded on.
"If we had dams operating at their potential it could be huge for tourism.”
RDAIWM chief executive officer Rees Banks said improving roads was another concern that was constantly raised during extensive community consultations.
"In the region we have six major highways,” Mr Banks said. "We have the ability to move stock or commodities from a to b in a number of areas to make sure that once stock is produced it can get to where it's supposed to go.
"We just need a couple of key road infrastructure (improvements) to help that process to make sure it can get through if there was a flood or a closure.”
The RDAIWM wants to work with the region's councils to ensure that all identified priority road infrastructure is appropriately captured in Department of Transport and Main Roads planning.