RockStar grain to be released in 2020

A new high yielding wheat is set to become a headline act in 2020, with the launch of the newly classified Australian Hard variety, RockStar.

RockStar is said to provide a robust, flexible variety option to reduce the impact of seasonal variability on spring crops and generate profitable yields.

The new release was produced by Western Australian cereal breeding company, InterGrain, which is co-owned by the State Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

WA’s talented grains scientists are recognised as industry leaders in research, development and innovation, supported by the McGowan Government’s investments in state-of-the-art facilities, field trials and strong relationships with industry, academia and customers.

Asian customers are big fans of Australian Hard wheat, which is used as a blend in baked products and noodles, and can attract a premium, depending on market and seasonal conditions.

“RockStar has the potential to become a major part of cropping rotations in WA, providing a high yielding solution to managing spring variability, with earlier sowing opportunities and mid-late flowering characteristics.

“This variety has been developed from WA’s biggest selling wheat variety, Mace, and could provide a real boost to growers’ crop productivity and profitability.

“RockStar is backed by InterGrain’s out-there marketing strategy, where the variety is presented as a hard rock guitarist pitching the tagline ‘the AH wheat that rocks ’til late’ – riffing on its Australian Hard classification and its late season flowering.

“InterGrain is emerging as a rising star in the Australian plant breeding industry, establishing a strong reputation as a leading supplier of high performance wheat and barley varieties for all Australian environments.

“The McGowan Government put a halt to the previous government’s plan to sell off InterGrain to Eastern States interests – and that decision is paying off today, alongside our significant investment in grains research and development to keep WA on the world stage as a premium grain supplier.”

Western Meat Packers Group appoint new Australian sales manager

Graham Martin has been appointed domestic sales manager, Western Meat Packers Group.

Announcing the appointment, WMPG chief executive officer, Andrew Fuda, said his many meat industry roles across retail, food service, marketing, quality assurance and sales gave Mr Martin the necessary skills, contacts and experience to build brand awareness and lift sales.

“A qualified butcher, Graham knows how to present beef to today’s discerning consumers and he will focus much of his time on promoting our multi award winning Margaret River Fresh beef to independent butchers and selected supermarkets,” Fuda said.

“While the Margaret River region has long been globally recognised for its fine wines, our Margaret River Fresh branded beef is now serving up a beef taste sensation to consumers.”

The Margaret River Fresh trademark is registered with IP Australia to WMPG and used exclusively to package the group’s premier products.

Cattle are selected after grazing on their natural pastures and then raised and fattened almost exclusively on pasture, before carrying the Margaret River Fresh brand after processing at the WMPG abattoir located on 250 hectares in the Margaret River region.

Martin was red meat/food service manager with Globe Meats for three years before spending another three with Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation as Retail Area Manager, driving a value added program and introducing trim lamb to the WA meat industry.

This was followed by two years as a meat specialist with FAL and then seven with Meat and Livestock Australia (formerly AMLC).

“As WA area manager, I was part of the team that launched the successful Meat Standards Australia eating quality program and the muscle seaming program.

Of course today, MSA is very well known to shoppers looking for a consistent beef product,” Martin said.

“Memorable highlights with MLA included working with Neil Perry at Tasting Australia in Adelaide and Sam Neill in Cape Town for filming of the very successful Red Meat Program ‘We were meant to Eat Red Meat’, featuring the dancing butchers.”

For more than three years Martin was WA Manager for Australian Pork Limited, delivering many marketing and quality programs and ‘Pork Star’ to the food service sector.

Before joining WMPG, he was seven years with Linley Valley Pork, where he had several roles, including brand building with retail butchers and independent supermarkets.

“Many of my industry roles meant I’d design and run workshops for apprentice and trainee chefs through TAFEs, always featuring an overview of the meat industry, including on-farm management, processing, ageing of meat and, of course, cutting demonstrations,” he said.

Started in 1983, Western Meat Packers Group is 100 per cent owned by its founders, Rod Russell and wife Shana.

It annually turns over more than $150 million and employs 450 people at its Osborne Park processing and packing facility, Margaret River abattoir and Bibra Lake value adding unit.

Cutting-edge FarmSmarts showcased at Muresk Institute

The latest SMART Farm technology has once again been highlighted at this year’s FarmSmart showcase at Muresk Institute in Northam.

More than 350 farmers, industry leaders and training providers attended the free event today, which included demonstrations from Telstra with their Mobile Technology Lab and tours of Muresk’s SMART Farm, the first public demonstration farm in Western Australia set up for cloud-based SMART Farm technology.

Cloud-based SMART Farm technology is the integrated use of digital equipment in modern agriculture, such as sensors and GPS, providing farmers with the data they need to make more informed and efficient choices in farming.

Visitors to the event also enjoyed seminars on adapting to a digital business, breeding better sheep, improving animal welfare and livestock handling operations through technology, and connecting consumers and producers.

Agricultural Region MLC Darren West represented Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery to officially open the FarmSmart showcase for 2019.

The event brought together industry leaders and training providers to highlight how the integration of new technology with existing farming practices can help improve quality and efficiency.

“The McGowan Government is committed to delivering stronger regional economies,” said education and training minister Sue Ellery. “The FarmSmart showcase is a great example of agricultural innovation, increasing productivity and diversifying the economy to create more jobs for Western Australians.

“It is vital the State Government works with the agricultural industry to ensure we are delivering the right skills at the right time and in the right places.”

“As a farmer I have seen firsthand how technology is changing the way we do things and how it has opened up new opportunities for jobs,” said agricultural region MLC Darren West. “I thank Minister Ellery for her continued support of innovation and technology in agriculture. It is essential that we continue to upskill and keep up-to-date with new technology so that we can take advantage of the efficiencies and opportunities it presents to our industry.”

Research partnership established for WA grains industry

Western Australia’s grains industry is set to benefit from a $48 million scientific research partnership between the Western Australian government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

A major new research program will attempt to unlock the potential of WA’s grainbelt soils and exploratory projects to boost oat, canola, lupin and pulse production and value for WA growers.

The WA government has committed $25 million over five years for the WA-based projects led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s research arm.

The funding commitment includes $22 million to overcome soil constraints and develop transformational soil technologies.

A further $3 million will help examine new opportunities for the WA grains industry, including a fresh approach to matching genetics for early sowing opportunities for oats, canola and lupins in key environments.

“Scientific research is key to helping our growers change and adapt to produce better crops, increase productivity and export competitiveness, and in turn support our regional economies and communities,” said Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

“This industry is hungry for technology to address Western Australia’s unique conditions and market challenges while striving for record growth like this season’s impressive 17.9 million tonne harvest – our second biggest crop ever.”

The six projects include:

  • Re-engineering soils to improve water and nutrient flow to crops;
  • Increasing farming system profitability and the longevity of benefits following soil amelioration;
  • Increased grower profitability on soils with sodicity or transient salinity in the eastern grainbelt;
  • Optimising yield and expanding the area of high-value pulses – lentil, faba bean and chickpea – in Western Australia;
  • Evaluating milling oat varieties and optimising profitability from early-sown oats; and
  • Expanding the sowing window for canola and lupins.

Western Australia’s grains industry is estimated to have injected $7 billion into the WA economy this season, by far the state’s biggest agricultural export and underpinning many rural and regional communities.

Australia’s commercial fishing industry announces outcome of national crisis

Representatives from Australia’s commercial fishing industry converged in Fremantle, WA to discuss the continued threats to the industry’s resource access, stemming from ongoing nationwide government intervention.

“We called today’s ‘Tipping Point’ meeting to discuss the widespread government interventions, reviews and reform processes bringing increased uncertainty to our industry, most prominent at the moment is the attack on the Western Rock Lobster Fishery” Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said.

“What we have seen happen in Western Australia with regard to Western Rock Lobster and the McGowan Government’s move to issue licenses to itself, is unprecedented, we believe illegal and condemned by representatives at today’s meeting. This action dramatically devalues the local industry and has national consequences on property rights, not just within the seafood industry,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“Those present from fishing communities and families from throughout Australia clearly stated their support for the rock lobster fishers of WA in their battle against the unfair and unjust seizure of the fishery by the state of Western Australia. The result of that seizure would be to undermine sound fisheries management to the detriment of the whole Australian community,” Dr George Kailis, Executive Chair of the MG Kailis Group.

In an unprecedented showing of unity, industry leaders from every state and territory came together today and discussed pathways to address the constant erosion of our access to resources, and the devaluation and destabilisation of the commercial seafood industry around the nation. The meeting focused on establishing a long-term approach to provide greater security in access rights. The following resolutions were agreed upon:

  • We support the WA Rock Lobster industry in their battle to reject the unprecedented, unfair and unjust proposal to steal fishing access rights.
  • We reconfirm that security of fishing access rights is paramount to proper fisheries management, conservation and community benefit.
  • We commit to working more closely with the Australian community.
  • We will work to engage and educate our politicians for better community outcomes.

“Seafood Industry Australia was created to provide a united voice of the Australian seafood industry – to promote, protect and develop the industry,” said Lovell. “Today, we have just that. This tipping point meeting is the catalyst for the start of a unified industry approach for long-term, secure access rights for Australian fishing families and the Australian community at large.”

 

WA tourism push needs more beer

The Western Australian Government’s goal to raise the value of tourism to $12 billion by 2020 could be boosted by more attention to ales, pilsners and lagers, Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers suggest.

Tourism WA’s Taste 2020 quite rightly focuses on the South West region’s premium food and wines as a way to increase the 400,000 ‘gourmet travellers’ who currently grace our state annually.

However, the recent boom in craft breweries indicates wine’s less revered younger brother has earned a seat at the table.

“Judging from the awards brewers in WA are getting, it’s fair to say they’re producing really good beers,” said Nevil Alexander from ECU’s School of Business and Law.

“Craft breweries work very well with wineries and food, as they fit the ‘premium’ reputation of the region, particularly the Margaret River brand.

“However, they need recognition and support to thrive.”

Currently there are approximately 66 craft breweries in WA, with the highest concentrations in Perth and the Swan Valley and between Dunsborough and Margaret River.

Since 2006, craft breweries in Australia have risen from 30 to 528; and an average of 68 new establishments per year have opened since 2014, with a closure rate of only 4 per cent.

 Researching the way forward

In a recent publication from ongoing research, Mr Alexander and Dr Abel Duarte Alonso canvassed 57 craft brewery operators and 219 hobby craft brewers to identify challenges and opportunities related to tourism engagement.

In terms of barriers, commercial brewers pointed to the long distance between breweries, unfair competition from larger breweries and a lack of critical mass.

Hobbyists were most concerned with costs, particularly excise tax on craft beer, but also noted distance.

“Both groups indicated that the craft brew experience would work best in combination with other activities, whether that is gourmet food, wineries or things like festivals and sporting events,” Mr Alexander said.

“This would help overcome concerns about the distance between breweries and provide those taking tours with a more enhanced experience.”

Hobbyists also had a keen desire for behind-the-scene activities such as hop farm tours or opportunities to observe the malting process.

“There is clearly a desire for craft brewery experiences – the whole industry is evolving, and we need to recognise beer as a tourism asset,” Mr Alexander said.

Mr Alexander is also chief steward of the Perth Royal Beer Show.

‘Craft Beer Tourism Development “Down Under”: Perspectives of Two Stakeholder Groups’ was published in Tourism Planning & Development.

WA to educate retailers, consumers ahead of plastic bag ban

With Western Australia’s ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags just five months away, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is holding workshops to help people change the way they shop and do business.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson is urging the community to take advantage of the workshops – being held across Perth and regional WA – which are aimed at helping plastic bag suppliers, retailers and consumers prepare for and comply with the ban.

From July 1, retailers can no longer supply lightweight single-use plastic bags to their customers.

In the lead-up to the ban, retailers are being encouraged to stop ordering plastic bags which will be part of the ban, think about alternatives to plastic bags and prepare staff to help customers who are unware of or do not support the ban.

Consumers are encouraged to consider carrying reusable shopping bags, look at alternatives for the single-use plastic bags used around their homes and support retailers and staff upholding the law by not supplying single-use bags.

Workshops will be held across the metropolitan region – Perth, Connolly, Stirling, Armadale, Fremantle, Midland and Mandurah and in regional centres – Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Narrogin, Albany, Geraldton, Broome and Port Hedland.

 

 

WA hits out at Canberra after missing out on agricultural funding

The Western Australian Government has claimed more than 1,500 of the state’s workers will miss out on long-term jobs after the Federal Coalition Government declined the State’s funding application for two important irrigation projects from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

According to the WA government, the two projects were the Myalup-Wellington project and the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.

It is understood in the statement that in June 2017, the state government wrote to Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce to confirm it would commit $56 million for the two projects to secure a sustainable water supply for growers and support agricultural jobs in WA’s South-West.

Each project had committed funding from the private sector and the State Government’s commitment was subject to the Federal Government funding.

The state government reiterated in it’s statement that it’s financial commitment to the projects remains the same and the WA continues to be committed to securing funding from the Federal Government.

“This is yet another snub to Western Australian taxpayers from the Federal Coalition Government,” said WA Water Minister David Kelly.

“Yesterday’s decision by the Federal Government means more than 1,500 Western Australians have missed out on long-term jobs.

“I am incredibly disappointed by the Federal Government’s decision.  After all, it was the previous Western Australian Liberal National government that made a pitch for Federal funding in the first place,” said Kelly.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said, “This is extremely disappointing for growers in the South-West:  we prioritised these projects in our review of Royalties for Regions because they were job creators for the region.

“We have a realistic goal to double the value of our horticultural output in WA but we need real investment from the Federal Government to be able to reach that potential and create new jobs across regional WA.”

Western Australian apples heading to Hong Kong

Hong Kong consumers will get a taste of the Southern Forests with a shipment of Granny Smith apples scheduled to arrive following dispatch from Manjimup via Fremantle this morning.

The  container holds 1200 Genuinely Southern Forests branded cartons, with majority of the 90,000 apples also carrying the Genuinely Southern Forests labels, a key selling point to the order request.

Executive Chairman of the Southern Forests Food Council Bevan Eatts said the Food Council, and in particular John Kilrain, had worked extremely hard with its members to consolidate the order request with a number of growers supplying fruit of all sizes.

“We have been undertaking export development discussions for the past couple of years and through our export partnership with Allstates Farms coming to fruition, the Food Council now has the ability to export a variety of Southern Forests produce, including these apples, to international markets,” said Eatts.

The Southern Forests provides 50% of Western Australia’s total apple production. With domestic apple pricing this season at an unsustainable price point for growers, the shipment is a significant achievement for the region.

“This order should give growers confidence in the fact that export opportunities do exist. The Food Council is in the unique position to have the ability to work with buyer requests as they are presented, and our partnership with Allstates Farms provides the avenue to supply these requests.” said  Eatts.

The Southern Forests region includes the towns of Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole resulting in an extensive range of over 50 fruits and vegetables grown by member producers with variety of produce including apples, avocados, brassica, stone fruit and potatoes in addition to value added grocery products including honey, wine, green tea and sparkling juices.

A Committee of Management, together with Southern Forest Food Council staff, bring the region’s world- class and varied produce to domestic and overseas markets; and play an integral role in unifying the area’s diverse producers to strengthen economic performance, attract further investment, create sustainable employment and promote regional pride.

WA Crop Research Hub to receive $3m to boost grains industry

Australian grain industries will benefit from a $3 million grant to create a new Crop Research Hub in Western Australia, charged with improving grain crop productivity and disease resistance Australia wide.

​Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said Murdoch University had received a $3 million Grains Industry Infrastructure Grant to establish the WA Crop Research Hub under a collaboration between Murdoch University, Curtin University and the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

“The Coalition Government knows how critical research and development (R&D) is to productive and profitable industries and that’s why this government is investing unprecedented amounts under various programmes in to R&D,” Minister Joyce said.

“This innovative project will draw on the specialist research skills from each party to develop new research in crop pathology, plant physiology and genetic improvement.

“The outcomes of this research will be applied to improve crop productivity and resistance to disease, strengthening the national grain industry and profitability for Australian grain growers.

GRDC Chairman Mr John Woods said for the GRDC to deliver on its purpose of investing in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers it was essential for research partners to have the critical capacity they required.

“Our RD&E partners need good infrastructure and the right tools to deliver for the grains industry,” Mr Woods said.

“For the first time GRDC has gone out nationally to support our research partners in creating critical capacity and capability to deliver greater profitability for growers. This is essential to ensure a sustainable grains industry to underpin strong rural communities and a healthy economy.

Murdoch University’s $3 million grant will be coupled with a co-contribution of $2 million by the project partners.

This collaboration is part of the Grains Industry Infrastructure Grants programme, administered by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, with 15 recipients sharing in $15 million in competitive grants.

Goodman Fielder delays WA factory closure

Food manufacturer Goodman Fielder has delayed the closure of its factory in Western Australia, due to issues with its supply agreement with George Weston Foods.

Earlier this year, Goodman Fielder announced plans to cease production at its Malaga, Perth plant by April 28. The plan was to enter into a supply agreement with George Weston Foods under an agreement which covered packaged bread from brands Wonder White, Helga’s, Molenberg, Lawson’s and Mighty Soft. This was to commence on May 1, with 75 staff to be made redundant.

However, Goodman Fielder has told staff at the Malaga plant that the closure and supply agreement have been postponed until July 1 due to lack of clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC is currently evaluating the impact of the factory closure and supply agreement on competition in the WA bread market. The group has received submissions from other local bakers and food services companies that are opposed to the deal, according to industry sources.

Under the proposed agreement, George Weston will manufacture 98 per cent of the Malaga factory’s production, with the remaining two per cent (which covers the Lawson’s brand) to be produced by independent Perth baker, Bovell’s.

Goodman Fielder has advised its staff to take annual leave or unpaid leave until the ACCC makes its decision. Some staff promised redundancy fear they will not be paid, according to Australian Financial Review.

WA consumers asked to make a ‘good choice’ and buy local food

Western Australian consumers will be asked to make a ‘good choice’ and support local food businesses, as part of a dynamic new marketing campaign which rolls out across the State in July.

The Good Choice campaign has been developed in collaboration with industry, and is set to reenergise the Department of Agriculture and Food’s long serving Buy West Eat Best program.

Department Director of Food Deborah Pett said the Buy West Eat Best program had strong support from its 130 members to promote the buy local message to consumers.

“Industry has committed to significant investment and collaboration in developing this new Good Choice campaign to reignite interest in the program. Major contributors have included Mt Barker Chicken, Amelia Park and Linley Valley Pork,” Pett said.

“The campaign aims to remind WA consumers of the importance of buying local to not only support our producers and retailers but also reap other benefits such as the freshness and quality of local produce.”

Ms Pett said there were many factors influencing food purchasing, such as food trends, price and quality, as well as food provenance.

“Our local wholesalers, restaurants and retailers are doing an excellent job highlighting the source of their produce and can influence consumer decision making at every purchase point,” she said.

“The Good Choice campaign will aid in this by simply asking consumers to make a good choice by choosing local.”

Pett said research in 2016 showed 85 per cent of consumers surveyed had an awareness of the Buy West Eat Best brand and a strong preference for buying locally-produced food.

“The new campaign will strengthen this message at point of purchase, and enhance sales and brand awareness of WA products under the Buy West Eat Best program,” she said.

Strict criteria determines eligibility of a Buy West Eat Best registered product, which is required to be ‘fished, farmed or grown’ in Western Australia.

The criteria ensures integrity of the program is maintained and compliance is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

 

WA food stocks hit after roads damaged by flooding

Agriculture and food minister Alannah MacTiernan has called for road repairs in Western Australia after the region was hit by flooding.

She has identified roads in Ravensthorpe, 540km south-east of Perth, as a priority after the collapse of the South Coast Highway has caused stock losses and damage to fences and top soil.

According to a report in The West Australian, MacTiernan said farmers had lost between 5 and 7 per cent of their arable land after the floods.

“It was important to see that damage that had occurred,” she said. “It’s pretty severe.”

Funding is expected to be reimbursed to primary producers which has up to $25,000 after the council collates more data of the damage caused. 

“The Shire wants early sign-off on the ability to use day labour,” MacTiernan continue.

“It was made very clear that the Shire needs to get moving on the roads. We understand time is of the essence, we certainly don’t want to prevent planting season.

“Until those roads are repaired, we can’t get the gear in.”

Howard Park Wines Heads to NZ for one-off event

Howard Park Wines has joined a number of significant winemakers in Auckland for a one-off wine tasting event that introduces their signature varietals to the public.

The exclusive event invited the twelve members of Australia’s First Families of Wine to join New Zealand’s Family of Twelve to showcase the wines that make each region so unique. The event, named Unrivalled History, called on the Next Generation, who come from the finest multi-generational wineries in each nation’s history.

Everyone attending the wine tasting event was more than eager to sample a glass from each of the 24 wineries across Australia and New Zealand, and to hear the stories behind each of the iconic brands.

Operations Manager of Howard Park, Nat Burch, says the tasting event was a must-do from the very beginning. Not only did it allow the winery to promote their range, but it provided space to collaborate and learn from other wineries and to speak to the consumers directly.

“We’re proud to be a part of this amazing group of winemakers,” says Burch. “They’re the flagship wineries of their region, and we couldn’t be happier to number amongst them. The First Families are all passionate about Australia’s wine making heritage, and are devoted to constant innovation and learning.”

“It was great being able to interact with people firsthand, whether they’re part of the industry or a wine lover coming along for a day of tasting. Speaking with people in the know, and from our consumers, truly is one of the best parts of the job.”

Howard Park  celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year. Since it’s inception in 1986, Howard Park’s philosophy has been to craft outstanding boutique Australian wines of great subtlety, character, balance and elegance with an uncompromising commitment to quality.

As well as sticking to tradition, the award-winning winery sets the stage for innovation. Alongside the 23 other wineries in the group, Howard Park has a commitment to educating the up-and-coming members in their family to pass on invaluable skills to the next generation.

WA food maker to release high pressure processed baby food

Western Australian food processor Fresh Produce Alliance is set to launch Australia’s first baby food which is made using high pressure processing (HPP) to sterilise it.

The ABC reports that the Manjimup-based company will be able to make the baby food with fruit that would otherwise be wasted by farmers.

“We wanted to do something for Australian farmers,” Fresh Produce Alliance’ s Managing director Jenny Franceschi (pictured) told the ABC.

“[I’ve heard, on average] 30 per cent of products that are grown in Australia don’t leave the farm gate.

According to the company’s website, HPP is a cold Pasteurisation technique through which packaged products such as baby foods are placed into vessels and subjected to high level of isostatic pressure transmitted by water.

It kills potentially harmful bacteria without bruising the fruit or affecting its nutritional value.

In contrast, as Fresh Produce Alliance’s food technologist and dietitian Debbie Xu told the ABC, heat treatment which is used to sterilize most commercial food, kills some nutrients like vitamins B and C.

“But by HPP you avoid heat treatment, but at the same time you kill the bad bacteria, so you can extend the shelf life without affecting the nutritional value of the food,” said Xu.

 

WA poultry processor goes under

A family-owned poultry processing business in Western Australia has been placed into the hands of administrators and its 30-plus employees have lost their jobs.

The West Australian reports that Flown Pty Ltd, which operates a poultry processing plant and a retail outlet in Wanneroo, was placed into the hands of administrators Simon Theobald and Melissa Humann from PPB Advisory on Friday.

Only last year, Flown itself bought a failed Wanneroo poultry wholesaler, the Meat & Poultry Company and Drovers Pastoral Company from liquidators.

Flown, which employed eight full-time and 23 part-time workers, ceased trading when the announcement was made on Friday.

WA Labor wants global brand to promote state

The Western Australian Labor opposition has said it will push for a global brand under which the state would be promoted.

AAP reports that WA opposition leader Mark McGowan said a consistent brand was needed to promote WA as a “clean, green” state with “quality industries”.

“We need to do more to make sure that we create jobs in a wider range of industries — manufacturing, hospitality, education exports, tourism, as well as mining,” McGowan told The West Australian.

“WA needs to have a global brand by which we sell (our industries) so that people around the world and around Australia understand that if it’s got the WA brand on it, it’s quality. It’s something you want to be a part of.”

He cited the “WA Birthmark” campaign of the 1970s, with the Birthmark still used to promote the citrus industry.

ALDI to construct two new distribution centres

ALDI has appointed BADGE and Georgiou Group Pty Ltd for the construction of its South Australian (SA) and Western Australian (WA) Distribution Centres.

Work in SA commences this month while construction on the WA site will begin in November 2014.

The combined value of the contracts is over $100 million and will provide work opportunities to local contractors and businesses.

The Distribution Centre will act as the hub of ALDI’s store network, with up to 120 stores planned for Western Australia and South Australia.

BADGE will build the South Australian Distribution Centre at Regency Park, and construction is expected to be completed by October 2015.

The total project value for ALDI's WA and SA expansion is approximately $700 million. This includes the Distribution Centres, stores and additional infrastructure.

“We are proud of our commitment to our suppliers and contractors in Australia, many of whom have enjoyed growth and success as we have expanded over the past 13 years,” said Viktor Jakupec, ALDI managing director of SA and WA.

“The development of our Distribution Centre and stores under efficient and streamlined processes is integral to delivering the high quality products at low prices that our customers have come to expect,” he said.

 

Marketing campaign flips consumers perceptions of potatoes

An effective marketing campaign in Western Australia has successfully turned declining potato sales into a profitable market.

Last year, WA growers invested $1.5 million into the development of a campaign which was designed to address consumers perceptions that potatoes were unhealthy. After just nine months, the Potato Marketing Corporation WA has lifted declining sales up by 2000 tonnes The Weekly Times reports.

Marketing expert Paul Graham told the 2014 Potato Industry Conference this week that over the last decade, the average Australian consumed 26kg of potatoes per annum, but that number dropped to 20kg in recent years.

He said that the campaign has served as a valuable tool in “inspiring behavioural change” amongst consumers, by providing them with tips on how to prepare vegetables easily.

Graham said that the success of the campaign and has now placed that category “back into growth”.

“We were surprised with the result (of the marketing campaign) and to see it begin to turn around so quickly,” Graham said.

Together with TV and radio advertisements, the WA potato industry is now looking to develop in-store supermarket advertising to promote the versatility of potatoes, specifically as the “king of the side dish”.

Graham said that the potential to extend the campaign nationally was on the cards, however the opportunity was still being discussed by the broader industry as the potato sector did not currently have a national marketing levy.

 

Smallgoods warehouse fire causes $1m in damage

A fire at Westphalia Gourmet Fine Foods in Western Australia’s Bentley has caused $1 million in damage.

According to The West Australian, the fire was accidental, starting after ash from a meat smoker was poured into a plastic bin.

The fire started at approximately 6.45pm, spreading to the switchboard equipment and cool rooms, before being extinguished by 7.30pm.