Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    $6.95 million for Mareeba agri-science hub

    Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    $6.95 million for Mareeba agri-science hub

    A large portion of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation’s (DEEDI) old Kairi Research Station was sold at auction last week with the proceeds to be invested in the new development at Peters Street, Mareeba.

    209 hectares of the Kairi site has been sold for $6.95 million, DEEDI has retained 26 hectares of land at the site.

    Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies Tim Mulherin said the proceeds from this sale will go towards the new Mareeba development due to open its doors soon.

    “The Mareeba Hub will be one of Australia’s state of the art agriculture support hubs and will lead the region’s research and training,” Mr Mulherin said.

    “Construction is close to completion and staff are preparing to move into the building by the end of the year.

    “The facility will focus on research, development and extension, education and training.

    “The Hub will boost the Tablelands ability to attract and retain high quality, key staff.

    “It will highlight important research for industries including horticulture, field crops, pasture and seed production, cattle and dairy. Future industries such as bio-crops will also be a focus.

    “In addition, DEEDI has signed a Statement of Intent with James Cook University to establish tropical science collaboration.

    “This joint project will be the foundation of a new centre of excellence in research and development in North Queensland, focusing on tropical agriculture, aquaculture and biosecurity.

    "Working with the Australian Agriculture College Corporation (AACC), the department is also developing an ‘extension through training’ framework that aims to provide primary producers an opportunity to gain recognition of the skills they are acquiring.

    “Much of this training will be delivered from the Mareeba Hub in a joint collaboration with the AACC. To complement the training from Mareeba, the AACC will deliver practical field training modules from the Walkamin Research Facility.”

    Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said to enable these developments, DEEDI was consolidating research onto one site at Walkamin Research Station and had now sold most of the land at the old Kairi site.

    “Staff relocating to Mareeba will be offered retraining and no staff will be forced out of a job,” he said.

    “There are great advantages to bringing together our regional scientific capacity in one location on the Tablelands.

    ”The interactions between scientists, researchers, extension officers, teachers and students will create a rich environment of ideas, creativity and innovation.

    “The new facility will also provide a central point for industry to interact with researchers and government services.”

    Mr Mulherin added that the history of the Kairi Research Station would not be forgotten.

    “Kairi was established as a state farm in 1911 and has not changed hands for 100 years. The facility has been primarily used for agricultural research,” he said.

    “In the first half of the last century, Kairi’s dairy and pig herd provided foundation stock for new settlers returning from World War One and during World War Two, the farm produced eggs and vegetables for troops in North Queensland.

    “In 1946 a dairy research program got underway, and in the late 1950s controlled breeding of maize began.

    “In the 1960s the composition of primary industries served by the Kairi research station diversified into other industries such as potatoes, pigs, peanuts, sorghum and poultry. But by the 1970s, the research focus turned back to dairy production.

    “Some of the more recent research projects have included timber production, grazing management, crop rotations and reduced tillage, and sweetcorn virus resistance.”

    Media: 3239 6530