Sunshine Coast nursery to grow at-risk marine plant species and create jobs with RED Grant
17 November 2023
A Sunshine Coast plant nursery is building a micropropagation laboratory to help grow key mangrove and seagrass species while creating up to thirty-two direct and indirect full-time jobs thanks to a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant.
Monocot Nursery is developing a micropropagation laboratory to initially expand into mangrove and then seagrass species, both of which are key for carbon storage, water quality and marine animal habitat.
Monocot Nursery director Belinda Brown said the laboratory would use tissue culture and micropropagation techniques to commercially trial and grow the species.
"Mangroves are important as they stabilize the coastline from erosion, improve water quality and accumulate three to ten times more carbon than most ecosystems on the planet," she said.
"They are also a breeding habitat for many animals, like fish, birds and crustaceans."
Mangrove and seagrass species are difficult to commercially cultivate and require sterile, climate-controlled conditions to grow which will be achieved through specialized lighting and equipment in the laboratory.
The plant products are expected to be used for blue carbon farming and mining rehabilitation.
The laboratory will be built next year, and will create up to two local, direct full-time jobs and up to a further 30 indirect full-time jobs.
“The construction and fit out of the lab will require specialist suppliers of cold rooms, air conditioning systems and lighting, as well as the purchase of laboratory equipment," Belinda said.
“When mangrove propagation trials are established, we anticipate that the nursery may require up to 30 additional laboratory assistants and/or nursery production staff to assist with the project.”
Monocot Nursery is one of 24 businesses approved for the fifth round of the competitive RED grants program with a total funding of $3.9 million. Overall, the fifth round of the RED Grants program is expected to create up to 215 direct, long-term jobs.
Grants are available for up to $200,000 with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants to fund projects which generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production value chains across rural and remote Queensland.
Over five years, the Palaszczuk Government’s RED Grants program has provided a total of $13.3 million in funding to support 59 successful regional agribusiness projects, worth more than $52.4 million and estimated to create over 2,500 new direct and indirect jobs.
A sixth round of RED Grants, supporting Indigenous-owned agribusinesses and projects aimed at low-emissions agriculture, has been allocated for the 2023-24 financial year, with applications to open later this year. For more information about the RED Grant Scheme, visit the RED Grant Scheme page.
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administers the RED Grant Scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.