A major fertiliser manufacturing plant has been green lit for Geraldton, Western Australia.
The plant will produce urea, a commonly used fertiliser in viticulture and agriculture which is also largely imported from overseas.
National Farmers Federation (NFF) chief executive Tony Mahar said the green light for the factory in regional Western Australia is hugely positive news.
“[The] announcement by the Federal Government of the granting of major project status to a urea processing facility, is exactly what is needed to propel Australia’s self-sufficiency when it comes to critical inputs,” he said.
“During COVID, supply chains almost ground to a complete halt and exposed Australia’s reliance on the import of key inputs including urea.
“Without urea, crop production would fall 30-40%.
“Positive seasonal conditions meant many farmers were setting up for a bumper cereal crop but faced the worrying prospect they wouldn’t be able to get the fertiliser they needed to realise their crop’s potential.
“Similarly, we almost lost the ability to put groceries on our shelves due to disruptions to the supply of AdBlue, a diesel additive that is derived from urea.”
Mr Mahar said the planned production capacity of the plant in Geraldton of 1.4 million tonnes per annum of urea from clean hydrogen and natural gas, represented a new era of manufacturing capability in Australia.
“It’s a blueprint for further manufacturing of critical inputs and agricultural outputs in regional areas,” he said.
“We are not suggesting we turn our backs on international trade. What Australia needs is domestic capability for critical inputs, so we can keep meeting the strong export demand for our agricultural products.
“The project will be a welcomed economic and social injection into the mid-west region with the plant forecast to create up to 1,135 full time jobs during construction and 300 full time positions during normal operation.”
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