4 October 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, today continued his visit across northern Tasmania by meeting with vegetable growers and producers.
“The vegetable industry and processing sectors are an important part of the northern Tasmanian economy and community,” Minister Ludwig said.
“That’s why today I visited farmers and processors with my Parliamentary Secretary, Sid Sidebottom, and Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart, to discuss issues facing both sectors.
“Tasmania has a fantastic reputation for its primary industries and this Government wants to help ensure they continue to grow.”
Regional Development Minister Simon Crean previously announced $20 million for agricultural projects in Tasmania, including for the dairy, aquaculture, viticulture and fruit processing industries, in partnership with State and local governments as part of the $120 million set aside for economic diversification.
Minister Ludwig said one of the issues producers were concerned about was the potential import of potatoes for processing from New Zealand.
“We are a trading nation and our biosecurity system is world class, but I know there has been community concern about this,” Minister Ludwig said.
“My view is that we have to get the science right – that's the basis for our biosecurity system.
“DAFF Biosecurity released a draft report for the review of import conditions for fresh potatoes for processing from New Zealand and 27 submissions are being considered as the final report is developed.
“Now, in order to provide further assurance that the quarantine measures being developed are appropriate, an external subject matter expert will consider the review.
“The external expert will review the assessment and the latest information on zebra chip disease relevant to the potential import of potatoes for processing.”
Minister Ludwig has been visiting a range of stakeholders while in Tasmania this week, including timber, dairy and vegetable producers, a pyrethrum producer, industry representative groups and food processors. Tomorrow he will meet with the seafood industry and attend the Burnie agricultural show.