Blueberry blossom

2024 Media releases

Liberals 2030 Strong Plan for Agriculture - A Step in the Right Direction

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 4.00pm

Fruit Growers Tasmania has welcomed the Liberals 2030 Strong Plan for Agriculture, in particular the specific commitments supporting Tasmania’s iconic fruit industry.

“Fruit Growers Tasmania welcomes the recognition in the Liberals plan of the need to support a trade officer for the industry,” Fruit Growers CEO Peter Cornish said.

“Growing and trading fresh fruit is a complex and highly regulated business. These functions have largely been unfunded but are critical to the success of the industry. Recognition of this need is appreciated. It is essential all fruit sectors expand their export opportunities if they are going to be profitable and continue to grow.”

While this is a significant step in the right direction, Fruit Growers Tasmania awaits further details of the Liberals trade policies, and in particular, the modest request for $200,000 per year for four years to support the promotion of Tasmanian Grown fruit in national and international markets.

“The Tasmanian fruit industry needs and deserves a very modest ongoing promotion program. In comparison to the many millions spent on marketing for our outstanding tourism industry, Tasmania’s world class agriculture sector receives precious little support and yet is a positive contributor to the state’s economy,” Mr Cornish said.

“Modest funding of promotion goes a long way in the fruit sector, and the funding to transform the paper based Tasmanian Seasonal Produce Guide into an interactive digital resource will benefit all our producers who sell direct to the public from their farm gates or local farmers’ markets.”

Fruit Growers Tasmania has also sought a commitment to an agricultural trade mission to Indonesia and Taiwan within the first year of the new government to strengthen the trade relationships in these important markets.
The fruit industry also welcomed the Liberals commitment to invest a further $5 million in biosecurity, including $300,000 to support industry groups such as Fruit Growers Tasmania.

“The Liberal Government has consistently recognised the essential nature of strong biosecurity to underpin the Tasmanian brand and maintain our preferential access to interstate and international markets,” Mr Cornish said.

“This further investment not only benefits dependent industries like fruit, but also underpins the Tasmanian environment and our way of life.”

Other Liberal commitments welcomed by Fruit Growers Tasmania include supercharging the Strategic Industry Partnership Program; providing support for infrastructure that improves productivity or de-risks agricultural businesses; investing in the Greater South-East Irrigation Scheme; removal of red tape for on-farm housing for workers; extended funding for Safe Farming Tasmania and opposing the Federal Government’s ill-conceived Biosecurity Protection Levy.

A key area of concern that Fruit Growers Tasmania is keen to discuss further is a commitment from the Liberals regarding payroll tax.

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

“Currently there is a 4.9 per cent difference in the rate of payroll being paid. Most of the Tasmanian fruit industry’s biggest employers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more than their competitors in Regional Victoria, the difference is stark! Our fruit growers need to be competitive if they are to remain profitable and continue to employ 10,000 people each year.”

Previous Next

Return to the news index