AUSVEG welcomes NSW Government assistance for Bathurst vegetable processing factory
AUSVEG has today welcomed the announcement that the NSW Government is assisting the struggling Simplot vegetable processing plant in Bathurst NSW.
The NSW Government has announced that it will assist the plant for the next three years with payroll tax rebates through its NSW Regional Industries Investment Fund.
“The vegetable processing industry has been facing crisis conditions for quite some time now and Australia needs to make a lot of changes if we’re going to encourage businesses to stay here,” said AUVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill.
After a review of their operations earlier this year Simplot Australia announced that it was evaluating options for the future of its Bathurst and Devonport vegetable processing sites, with the closure of the factories likely if cost savings could not be found.
“AUSVEG is calling on the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to take similar steps to assist the Simplot plant in Devonport,” said Mr Churchill.
The Devonport vegetable processing plant is crucial to the processed vegetable industry in Tasmania. Should its doors close there will be radical consequences for the Tasmanian farming industry but also the national industry as well.
“Should the Devonport factory close the effects will be felt nationally as Tasmanian processing growers try to find market share in an already saturated fresh vegetable market. There would be ramifications everywhere,” said Mr Churchill.
AUSVEG has welcomed the recent announcement from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd about agribusiness being an election issue in the lead up to the September 7 election date. AUSVEG has also been encouraged by the announcement from Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott that part of his economic plan for Tasmania will be the creation of a fruit and vegetable industry taskforce.
“The growing recognition by the major parties that farming is a sustainable way of keeping regional economies viable is welcome but we need to see the parties’ agriculture policies to truly know their future vision for agriculture,” said Mr Churchill.
The announcement by the NSW Government has provided some hope to the Australian vegetable industry.
“Many growers are openly concerned about the future of our industry and what the future will bring. It’s comforting to see that Government is starting to take direct action to address the issue. Obviously our preference would be to keep our food manufacturing capacity here in Australia and with the support of Government hopefully we can accomplish that,” said Mr Churchill.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG.
Mob: 0411 166 748 Phone: (03) 9882 0277 E-mail: email@example.com