Lime strategy secures supplies

The West Australian

Funding announced this week for the development of a Wheatbelt lime strategy will help address issues around access to agricultural lime as well as its transport, according to Member for Moore Shane Love.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman announced $150,000 of funding for the Shire of Gingin in the Royalties for Regions-funded Regional Grants scheme, which would see the formation of an agricultural lime working group and delivery of a strategy to secure future supply.

Mr Love said 1.6 million tonnes of agricultural lime was currently used annually throughout the agricultural region, but the Department of Agriculture and Food WA had forecast that 2.5 million tonnes of lime would be needed every year over the next decade to arrest soil acidity.

"As soil acidity costs the State nearly $500 million per annum in lost production, demand for lime will continue to grow, placing greater pressure on the established agricultural lime routes which emanate from the central coast," he said.

"With growing population pressure in this coastal area north of Perth, lime extraction has in the past been denied at one pit due to its proximity to a residential area.

"This is a situation that needs careful management and the lime strategy will have the opportunity to investigate the competing interests and plan for the future."

Mr Love said the strategy would demonstrate there was a strong case for Royalties for Regions funding to upgrade roads in line with the Wheatbelt Blueprint.

"This Royalties for Regions funding must be backed with a secure stream of funding from the Government to maintain any lime routes," he said.

"And I think there is a case for the reclassification of some roads under a lot of pressure from lime trucks - currently vested with Local Government - so they become the responsibility of the State Government."

Mr Love welcomed the announcement of a multifaceted lime working group, which he said would represent lime companies, government agencies such as Main Roads WA, DAFWA and the Wheatbelt Development Commission, grower groups and the Gingin and Dandaragan Shires.

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