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2024 Media releases

A Competitive Payroll Tax Leads The Tasmanian Fruit Industry’s Election Requests

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Wednesday, 28 February 2024, 4.00pm

Fruit Growers Tasmania is calling on the major parties and independent candidates to heed industry’s plea for greater recognition of the cost pressures that are impacting businesses.

Fruit Growers CEO Peter Cornish said “In the run up to the State election we are seeking a commitment from all parties to support our proposed policy initiatives to ensure our industry remains competitive”.

Tasmanian fruit growers produce $325 million of fruit, employ 10,000 people, and contribute $45 million in exports to the state’s economy each year. The industry has been a significant engine of growth over the last decade, consistently growing more quickly than any other major agricultural sector. However, the industry’s consistent growth cannot be taken for granted nor the industry ignored.

Since Covid-19 the industry has been under significant cost pressure and maintaining its competitive position is becoming increasingly difficult. There is virtually no aspect of the business in which costs have not increased including wages, electricity, freight, packaging, compliance costs for exporters and a soon to be added Federal Government tax – the Biosecurity Protection Levy.

The fruit industry relies on the sensible and supportive policies of government to provide an environment where it will continue to be competitive, invest, expand employment and grow.

“The key request we are making is that payroll tax for regional Tasmanian agricultural employers aligns with key competitors in Regional Victoria” Peter Cornish said.

“This would see a decrease in the rate from 6.1 per cent to 1.2 per cent. Most of the industry’s biggest employers are paying many hundreds of thousand dollars more than their competitors in Regional Victoria, the difference is stark.”

Other requests being sought by Fruit Grower Tasmania include the following:

  • A commitment to fund the whole fruit industry through Fruit Growers Tasmania over the coming four year term of government so we can support growers seeking to:
    - export;
    - promote Tasmanian fruit in key markets;
    - be more competitive and further enhance quality; and
    - continue to build our agricultural pest & disease/biosecurity status.
    These things are critical to the successful operation and growth of the industry.
  • A reduction and cap on hydro energy price increases for Tasmanian users for the four year term of the government. The legacy of the State’s renewable clean Hydro energy should be for the benefit of Tasmanians first and foremost.
  • Incentives for growers to purchase orchard rain covers and netting.
  • Support the removal of federal legislative barrier prohibiting the investigation and trial use of bumblebees as a pollinator in Tasmania.
  • Commit to an agricultural trade mission to Indonesia and Taiwan within the first year of the government to strengthen the trade relationships in these important markets.
  • A commitment to the proper funding and structure of Safe Farming Tasmania. There is no room for compromise on farm safety.

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