Project cuts red tape for grow­ers

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - David Charlesworth

GIV­ING veg­etable pro­duc­ers an op­por­tu­nity to grow, the State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced on June 18 a project aimed at cut­ting through red tape in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

The 90-Day Reg­u­la­tory Map­ping and Re­form Project en­cour­ages hor­ti­cul­ture busi­nesses to iden­tify reg­u­la­tory and ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­dens im­ped­ing their ca­pac­ity to en­ter new mar­kets, in­no­vate and ex­pand.

Tar­get­ing reg­u­la­tory re­stric­tions at all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment, the project in­volves the State Gov­ern­ment, the Com­mon­wealth Depart­ment of In­dus­try, In­nova- tion and Science and the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

Myalup grower Leanne Maiolo said there was a lot of red tape in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly with wa­ter use and the ex­pan­sion of a busi­ness.

“They’re the main is­sues that ev­ery­one along here (in Myalup) is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing,” Mrs Maiolo said.

“We had an opin­ion we would never ex­pand our sheds again be­cause of all the red tape.”

LJM Pro­duce, owned by the Maiolo fam­ily, pro­duces car­rots, onions and pota­toes on its prop­er­ties in Myalup’s hor­ti­cul­ture strip across more than 1000ha.

Its pro­duce is ex­ported to the Mid­dle East, Tai­wan and Hong Kong.

Mrs Maiolo the hir­ing and spon­sor­ship of over­seas work­ers who had a back­ground in hor­ti­cul­ture was also be­ing ham­pered by red tape.

“It’s get­ting harder and harder to spon­sor them and get them here,” she said.

“We rely heav­ily on work­ing hol­i­day mak­ers.”

Mrs Maiolo said there was great ca­pac­ity in the re­gion for the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try to grow but red tape was hold­ing a lot of busi­nesses back.

WA Trea­surer Ben Wy­att said the re­moval of red tape and ex­ces­sive reg­u­la­tory bur­den on hor­ti­cul­ture busi­nesses would im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“Reg­u­la­tory frame­works gov­ern­ing the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try must en­able growth and in­no­va­tion so that lo­cal busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties can max­imise the op­por­tu­ni­ties from our high-qual­ity pro­duce and close prox­im­ity to ex­pand­ing Asian mar­kets,” he said.

Re­tired Pre­ston Beach hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and lec­turer Den­nis King said hor­ti­cul­tural in­no­va­tion would be needed in the com­ing years par­tic­u­larly in the South West.

Mr King said across the South West more land was be­ing used for hor­ti­cul­ture, in­clud­ing fruit trees and av­o­ca­dos, which had pre­vi­ously been graz­ing and pas­toral land.

“Grow­ing dif­fer­ent veg­etable crops, grow­ing feed for livestock... that will be­come much big­ger,” he said.

Mr King said there was a lot of red tape sur­round­ing most in­dus­tries and with global warm­ing, pro­duc­ers would need to be smarter in their meth­ods.

“We’re go­ing to have to re­think every­thing,” he said.

Mr King said a ma­jor is­sue for grow­ers would be wa­ter use, with in­no­va­tion needed to be­come much more ef­fi­cient.

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