Media Release

Spotlight on Tasmanian fruit and vegetable industries

Joint media release

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP
Minister for Agriculture

Brett Whiteley MP
Federal Member for Braddon

Eric Hutchinson MP
Federal Member for Lyons

11 July 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has today been welcomed to Devonport, Tasmania by Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley, and Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson.

Minister Joyce is visiting Tasmania to attend the final meeting of the Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce and hear first hand from taskforce members about opportunities to improve the sector's economic performance and contribute more to Australia's fruit and vegetable industries.

"I am proud that the Coalition government has delivered on this key election commitment to Tasmanian fruit and vegetable producers and I am confident that this initiative will drive further growth in these vital industries.

"Tasmanian growers exported $46.4 million worth of fruit and vegetables in 2012–13, and you only have to fly into Devonport to see the many more horticulture opportunities laid out on the land below," Minister Joyce said.

"As a part of this process, the government has heard a number of great ideas about opportunities to market Tasmanian produce to mainland and overseas markets that would put more money in the pockets of Tasmanian growers.

"It's critical for industry, including growers, packers and exporters, to work together to support the entry and expansion of Tasmanian fruit and vegetables in selected markets," Minister Joyce said.

Federal Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson, who was one of three government representatives on the taskforce said discussing the issues important to the industry was an encouraging step forward.

"I have been privileged to serve on the taskforce and be a part of this process to ensure that the views and concerns of Tasmanian producers are heard at every level of the Coalition Government," Mr Hutchinson said.

"The taskforce is made up of fruit and vegetable producers, exporters and processors that in many cases have had firsthand experience and success. It is their knowledge, experience and examples that highlight and illustrate the opportunity for further growth in the sector."

Federal Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley, said today's visit demonstrated the Coalition's commitment to protecting and growing Tasmanian industries and jobs.

"A healthy and productive farming sector that is able to capitalise on market growth in the Asian market is essential for the future of the North-West economy. That is why the vegetable taskforce was so important to farmers and food processors in my electorate and I look forward to the release of the taskforce’s report," Mr Whiteley said.

The expert industry taskforce will present a report to the Government outlining the steps that industry and governments can take to ensure the long-term success of Tasmania’s fruit and vegetable industries.

Establishing the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce was a Coalition election commitment to strengthen the growth, productivity and sustainability of Tasmania's primary industries.