Geoff Wedlock Innovation Park
During construction in 2010, Karara purchased land for its rail infrastructure. Some of the land is classed as semi-arable and about 5,000 acres was set aside to establish a Mid West innovation hub for mining and non-mining related ventures. The land is named after former Gindalbie Metals Chairman, Geoff Wedlock, and has been dubbed Innovation Park.
In 2011, Karara partnered with the Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC) to develop a large-scale and commercially viable chicken farm, free-range egg and horticultural enterprise at Innovation Park. Administered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Innovation Park is central to a major community development program. It directly employs a number of people and provides annual traineeships, on-the-job training, job qualifications and real employment outcomes for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous workers in a culturally sensitive way and “on-country.”
Innovation Park is a sustainable social enterprise for the large-scale production, commercial packing and supply of fresh vegetables and free-range eggs. About 70% of produce is used to supply the Karara Village and is delivered fresh to site within 90 minutes. Remaining produce is distributed within the regional community, ensuring the availability of premium quality and fresh local produce, at discounted prices. The project continues to grow, with plans in 2018 to establish a fully enclosed and climate controlled 10,000 square metre greenhouse.
Innovation Park provides a unique opportunity for us to achieve Karara’s community ambitions. Since 2014, more than 50 people have participated in programs and more than 20 people have left the project to take up new full-time employment in the region.
In 2016, Karara Mining Ltd and MEEDAC were jointly awarded the Inaugural Department of Mines & Petroleum Resources Sector Community Partnership Award by the Minister in recognition of the deep and sustainable partnership arrangement between Karara and MEEDAC, the innovative program and the diverse range of important and successful outcomes it has delivered.