Project cuts red tape for growers
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.