Lead­ing the charge

Min­is­ter praises Ap­plethorpe re­searchers

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS -

THE Ap­plethorpe Re­search Fa­cil­ity is at the forefront of in­dus­try in­no­va­tion, ac­cord­ing to a key voice.

Vis­it­ing town ear­lier in the week, Queens­land’s Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Mark Furner was quick to praise the fa­cil­ity for lead­ing the way across sev­eral ar­eas.

From straw­berry breed­ing pro­grams, ap­ple de­vel­op­ment, cre­at­ing new grapes to tack­ling the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin pro­gram, Mr Furner said the team at Ap­plethorpe were work­ing won­ders.

More broadly, Queens­land’s $3 bil­lion fruit and veg­etable pro­duc­tion in­dus­try had ben­e­fited from re­search be­ing con­ducted at the site.

“Re­searchers are in­volved in im­por­tant projects to sup­port and en­hance Queens­land’s well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for pro­duc­ing some of the world’s safest pro­duce,” Mr Furner said.

“The Ap­plethorpe Re­search Fa­cil­ity is the hub of re­search ac­tiv­ity for a $16.6 mil­lion five-year project to im­prove the re­silience of crops against vi­ral and bac­te­rial dis­eases.”

Mr Furner said Ap­plethorpe was also renowned for the de­vel­op­ment of the dis­ease-re­sis­tant Kalei ap­ple.

“The Kalei is cur­rently be­ing com­mer­cialised by Ap­ple and Pear Aus­tralia Lim­ited (APAL), the same com­pany look­ing af­ter Pink Lady on a global scale.

“In ad­di­tion, our straw­berry breed­ing team has just com­menced a new five-year $8.6 mil­lion dol­lar Na­tional Straw­berry Va­ri­etal De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram,” the Min­is­ter said.

Justin Heaven, from the fa­cil­ity, said it was al­ways nice to get a pat on the back for work be­ing done on the Gran­ite Belt.

“It’s good to pro­file the re­search sta­tion. There’s a lot of work that’s done that’s not nec­es­sar­ily di­rectly im­pact­ing this area but it is good to high­light the work the re­searchers do.

“We’ve got such a wide spread of prod­ucts and work and area. Peo­ple here work across dif­fer­ent ar­eas in Queens­land and a lot of peo­ple prob­a­bly don’t re­alise that,” he said.

The fa­cil­ity staff have also played an in­stru­men­tal role in en­abling the for­ma­tion of the the new Gran­ite Belt Grow­ers Group.

PHOTO: MATTHEW PURCELL

TOP OF THEIR GAME: Justin Heaven, Heidi Parkes, Mark Har­ris, Peter Nimmo and David Oag from the Ap­plethorpe Re­search Fa­cil­ity.

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