State government grants to support regional agribusiness growth

Toast of the town: Lucky Bay Brewing owners Robyn Cail and Nigel Metz welcome Minister Alannah MacTiernan to their new brewery on January 31. Photo: Sarah Makse.
Toast of the town: Lucky Bay Brewing owners Robyn Cail and Nigel Metz welcome Minister Alannah MacTiernan to their new brewery on January 31. Photo: Sarah Makse.

The state government is urging agrifood businesses to apply for its latest grant scheme to stimulate investment and grow regional jobs.

The new round of the Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund was announced on January 31, with more than $4.5 million in matching grants available.

The funding aims to assist food and beverage businesses and processors to invest in expansion, relocation or the adoption of new technology.

Esperance's Lucky Bay Brewing was one of 23 businesses from the Kimberley to the South Coast awarded a grant in the 2018 pilot program.

The grant assisted the raw barley beer producers to relocate to an expansive Bandy Creek site providing new opportunities to expand its product range.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan praised owners Nigel Metz and Robyn Cail for the "beautifully designed and executed" facility.

"The company has managed in a space of less than a year to build such massive infrastructure," she said.

"They are really pushing the envelope and looking at new ways of brewing beer that is less wasteful of water and energy and that is pretty incredible."

Mr Metz said now the team had tackled its first tourist season they could work on refining the new venue.

"We are particularly grateful for the number of local people who have been back to the venue multiple times in the weeks that we have been open, we hope they enjoy coming here," he said.

Across the state, the program generated an additional $12.1 million in investment from the private sector.

Minister MacTiernan said the fund would help drive job creation across the region.

"Successful WA food, fish and beverage business applicants tell us the grants have given them the confidence to invest and grow their businesses: companies like Lucky Bay Brewing, which has been able to keep its doors open by moving to a more suitable location on the tourist trail and pursue expansion plans that will generate new jobs and stimulate the local economy," she said.

"The leverage from the pilot program was impressive, attracting four times as much investment from the private sector, driving diversification, regional economic growth and creating more than 100 new jobs.

"There has been strong growth in WA's agrifood value adding and processing sector and these grants will help to maintain that momentum, enabling business build capacity, improve competitiveness, de-risk investment and pursue domestic and export opportunities."

Three programs are included in the fund with grants of up to $300,000 available.

For more information or to apply visit https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/VAAIAF.

Applications close at 5pm March 9, 2020.