Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff
The future of Tasmania's fruit and vegetable industry is ripe for new growth, with the Turnbull Coalition, Tasmanian Governments and Tasmanian industry collaborating on a $130,000 Tasmanian Horticulture Market Growth Project.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, and Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff, said the project would boost the productivity, profitability and market performance of Tasmania's horticulture sector.
Minister Ruston today confirmed the commitment after handing down the Turnbull Coalition Government response to the Tasmanian fruit and vegetable taskforce report.
"The project will focus on identifying and exploiting market opportunities for the sector in Tasmania to deliver real outcomes for farmers," Minister Ruston said.
"We are committed to boosting returns for farmers and driving increased profits back through the farmgate, and this is another reflection of that commitment.
"The Turnbull Coalition and Tasmanian Governments are each providing a one-off investment of $50,000 to support the project, along with $30,000 from industry investment.
"This project gives effect to key recommendations in the report of the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Industry Taskforce— which will see a Tasmanian-based market growth facilitator to provide leadership in identifying and exploiting additional market opportunities for the Tasmanian fruit and vegetable industries.
"The taskforce was set up to look at ways we can boost the performance of Tasmania's horticulture sector, and is part of our commitment to more jobs and growth in the state.
"This project is in addition to a raft of projects the Australian Government is funding to benefit Tasmania—including the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Package and Jobs and Investment Fund, $60 million towards the Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche II programme and expansion of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.
"We're also pressing ahead with trade and market access agreements with key trading partners that are delivering unprecedented access for our products overseas."
Minister Rockliff said that a strong horticultural sector is a key part of the Tasmanian Government's plan to grow the value of agriculture in the state tenfold to $10 billion a year by 2050.
"Agriculture is a big contributor to our state's economy, and fruit and vegetables were worth over $310 million for Tasmania in 2013–14," Minister Rockliff said.
"There is incredible opportunity to grow this further, with new trade opportunities developing across Asia, our State's favourable biosecurity status and great growing conditions for a range of horticultural products.
"These are the competitive advantages that we want to assist local growers to capitalise on through this project."
For more information, or to read the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Industry Taskforce report and Australian Government response, visit: www.agriculture.gov.au.