Food security in a two-speed economy: Horticultural production in Western Australia
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Western Australia has experienced sustained economic and population growth over the last decade due to the prolonged resources boom, making it one of the wealthiest places in the world. However, despite the enviable international livability status, there is evidence that the Western Australian economy and community more generally has become increasingly polarized by the resources boom. The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ is widening depending upon peoples’ access to the wealth generated by the resources boom.The increase in population has put unprecedented pressure on the housing industry and community infrastructure. Consequently, productive agricultural land with accessible water supply has increasingly been developed in the capital city Perth and many regional towns in response to the rapacious appetite for land suitable for single, detached residential housing estates. The availability of fertile lands for horticultural production in relatively close proximity to urban centres is increasingly scarce. Further, food is no longer cheap for a variety of reasons including expensive land, transportation costs and adverse climatic conditions. As a consequence, the cost of living in Perth, and more especially regional Western Australia, far exceeds that of any other State in Australia.This chapter will consider the cost of food, the potential consequences of increased food miles and the public policy responses to the provision of food and food supply chains in Western Australia. This discussion will be within the context of the current ‘two-speed economy’ that is increasingly evident. The chapter concludes with consideration for future opportunities derived from the production of food when the resources finally run out.
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