Sunshine Coast Plant Nursery Initiates Groundbreaking Project with Rural Economic Development Grant

by Anna

A Sunshine Coast plant nursery, Monocot Nursery, is embarking on a transformative project aimed at cultivating key mangrove and seagrass species through the establishment of a cutting-edge micropropagation laboratory. The initiative, made possible by a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant, is poised to create up to thirty-two direct and indirect full-time jobs, fostering economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Monocot Nursery’s micropropagation laboratory will initially focus on expanding mangrove species, followed by seagrass species, both recognized for their crucial roles in carbon storage, water quality improvement, and marine animal habitat preservation.

Belinda Brown, Director of Monocot Nursery, emphasized the significance of mangroves, stating, “They stabilize the coastline from erosion, improve water quality, and accumulate three to ten times more carbon than most ecosystems on the planet.” She further highlighted the importance of mangroves as breeding habitats for diverse marine life, including fish, birds, and crustaceans.

Commercially cultivating mangrove and seagrass species poses unique challenges, requiring sterile, climate-controlled conditions. The micropropagation laboratory will utilize tissue culture and specialized techniques to conduct commercial trials and facilitate the growth of these species. The resulting plant products are anticipated to contribute to blue carbon farming and mining rehabilitation efforts.

The construction of the laboratory, scheduled for the upcoming year, is expected to generate two local, direct full-time jobs, with an additional thirty indirect full-time positions during and after the establishment phase. Specialized suppliers for cold rooms, air conditioning systems, lighting, and laboratory equipment will be involved in the project.

Belinda Brown outlined the project’s potential impact, stating, “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 among the 24 businesses selected for the fifth round of the competitive RED Grants program, receiving a total funding allocation of $3.9 million. This round of RED Grants is projected to create up to 215 direct, long-term jobs, contributing to economic growth and sustainability.

The RED Grants program, initiated by the Palaszczuk Government, has provided a total of $13.3 million in funding over five years, supporting 59 successful regional agribusiness projects valued at over $52.4 million. The program is estimated to generate more than 2,500 new direct and indirect jobs, showcasing its commitment to fostering economic opportunities across rural and remote Queensland.

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