Cash to help pro­duc­ers

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced de­tails of a $650 000 as­sis­tance pack­age to help main­tain and re­store con­sumer con­fi­dence in the safety and qual­ity of Aus­tralia’s fresh pro­duce.

Re­gional Ser­vices Min­is­ter Brid­get McKen­zie vis­ited a straw­berry farm in Wandin last week, and said the fund­ing was in ad­di­tion to pre­vi­ous fund­ing from fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud.

‘‘The events of the past few months have dealt a sig­nif­i­cant blow to our straw­berry farm­ers and Aus­tralians who love their fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles,’’ Ms McKen­zie said.

‘‘We were all moved by the way Aus­tralians ral­lied to sup­port our farm­ers and the Lib­eral-Na­tional Gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to keep the pas­sion and mo­men­tum go­ing.

‘‘This fund­ing is in ad­di­tion to the $350 000 al­ready an­nounced by the Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture David Lit­tleproud to sup­port the straw­berry in­dus­try to re­gain and re­tain mar­ket share in key ex­port mar­kets, and main­tain or re­store con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try and sup­ply chain.’’

The $650 000 will help pro­mote Aus­tralia’s fresh pro­duce sec­tor, sup­port our straw­berry grow­ers and also en­cour­age Aus­tralians to eat more fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles. The pack­age will: ■ Fur­ther sup­port Food Stan­dards Aus­tralia-New Zealand, which played a piv­otal role in co-or­di­nat­ing the orig­i­nal re­sponse and to broaden and speed up their re­view into high-risk foods;

■ Of­fer as­sis­tance to states and ter­ri­to­ries to give them greater ca­pac­ity to back health de­part­ments with their in­ves­ti­ga­tions;

■ Ini­ti­ate an on­line and so­cial me­dia cam­paign that will pro­mote and re­store con­sumer con­fi­dence in the safety and qual­ity of Aus­tralia’s fresh pro­duce, and en­cour­age healthy eat­ing and raise aware­ness of the health ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles.

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