$1.04 million business grants announced

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Leah and Jayden Hirst, WA Regional Development minister Alannah MacTiernan, Agricultural Region member Laurie Graham and vegetable grower Bao Nguyen at Geraldton Fisherman's Wharf on Tuesday.
Camera IconLeah and Jayden Hirst, WA Regional Development minister Alannah MacTiernan, Agricultural Region member Laurie Graham and vegetable grower Bao Nguyen at Geraldton Fisherman's Wharf on Tuesday. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian

From a water desalination plant for hydroponic vegetables to a heavy brakes tester, WA Regional Development minister Alannah MacTiernan announced more than $1million worth of grants to Mid West businesses on Tuesday.

She said the Regional Economic Development Grants would support agricultural development, tourism expansion and telecommunication infrastructure installation.

Narngulu heavy vehicle and equipment repairer J and L Hirst has $67,000 to set up a heavy haulage brake testing facility.

“Currently heavy vehicles have to go to Perth to be tested and this will introduce brake testing in the Mid West,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“We are working on how we can capture as much work as can be done locally here rather than in Perth.”

Partner Leah Hirst said it would bring heavy vehicles to Geraldton which would create work other services and trades they regularly collaborated with.

“We’ve done some quite big rebuilds lately and it’s going to increase the services and capabilities in Geraldton,” she said.

In announcing the $230,000 reverse osmosis desalination plant for Sun City Produce, Ms MacTiernan said it would address the build up of salt in the soil.

Proprietor Bao Nguyen, who is also Chairman of the Mid West Horticulture Growers Group, said it should allow them to diversify from cucumbers and capsicums to other crops such as strawberries.

“This will make us a bit more competitive with regards to quality of the produce that we’re growing and could be an entry into the export market,” he said.

“Plus all the other growers in our group have eyes on what we are doing and they will follow suit if it all works out.”

Other RED recipients were Floros Follies Pty Ltd, $150,000; Seaspray Beach Holiday Park in Dongara $153,910; Shire of Wiluna, $132,400; Kutkabubba Aboriginal Corporation, $97,680; Rainbow Jungle tourist facility, $79,790; Burnt Barrel Pty Ltd, $67,340; Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Ltd, $39,204; and Shire of Chapman Valley, $23,300.

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