‘If McGauran is willing to stand tall for the Australian vegetable industry, he can be assured we will be supporting him to our fullest capacity,’ Michael Badcock said today in response to the appointment of Mr Peter McGauran as new Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Mr McGauran replaces Mr Warren Truss and told media today that his priority was the Australian horticulture industry.

‘The vegetable industry is looking forward to working closely with Peter McGauran, who has already announced his support for Australian horticulture and his displeasure at the current trend of the two dominant supermarket using cheap imports for their house brands rather than Australian products,’ Michael Badcock, AUSVEG chairman said.

‘Minister McGauran also said that the mission of the Department of Agriculture is to support Australian farmers ahead of anything else. It is very encouraging to hear such words, exactly when the industry needs the urgent support of government,’ he said.

AUSVEG has established a $2 million fighting fund to help save the industry. The proceeds are to be used to promote the industry to consumers and to lobby for legislative and regulatory changes.

AUSVEG plans to meet with Minister McGauran shortly to discuss the outcomes of the vegetable industry crisis summit held in Melbourne last week.

‘I am looking forward to meeting with Mr McGauran to discuss the valuable outcomes of the crisis summit which looked at both short and long term strategies to help save the Australian vegetable industry,’ Michael said.

At this summit a five-point plan was developed to address the key issues facing the industry, and provide the changes necessary to enable its long term sustainability.

In the short term, strategies will address issues of country of origin labelling, food safety regulations, supermarket power, labour issues and providing a level playing field for Australian growers. The campaign will also support the right of consumers to know where their food comes from, and fight for the right to continue to supply consumers with fresh, tasty, safe and wholesome produce.