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Media Release from Labor.

Promoting Queensland berries at the heart of Government response to strawberry sabotage

Restoring the Queensland strawberry industry’s worldwide reputation for safe and delicious berries is at the core of the Palaszczuk Government’s million-dollar strawberry sabotage response fund.  

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner outlined the breakdown of the funding today.

“This attack on our strawberry industry was cowardly, calculated and callous,” Mr Furner said.

“But our response has been swift.

“In an unprecedented move, the Premier immediately put up a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of those responsible.

“And our Government was the first to offer financial support to the strawberry industry, with the Premier announcing $1 million in response to this saga.”

The $1 million will be allocated in the following manner: 

  • $600,000 to restore consumer confidence in strawberries through a targeted campaign

  • $250,000 for safeguarding supply chain integrity

  • $150,000 for the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to assist growers with the ongoing response and recovery.

Initial funding from the Palaszczuk Government to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom will begin flowing as early as today so they can continue to support growers through this difficult time.

Mr Furner said the funding would help Queensland growers bounce back from the saga and give them confidence heading into the new season.

“This is consistent with our approach to other agricultural issues we have dealt with in the past,” Mr Furner said. 

“When White Spot Disease hit our prawn industry in South-East Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government responded immediately by investing in a highly successful media campaign to get people eating seafood again with Brisbane Broncos legend Sam Thaiday.”

The Palaszczuk Government has also established a ‘Queensland Strawberry Industry Back to Market Working Group’ which met yesterday for the first time.

“The working group will be a forum for discussion between the Queensland strawberry industry and the Queensland Government,” Mr Furner said.

“Members of this group will determine the most effective strategy to restore consumer confidence and support the industry getting back to market as soon as possible.” 

“Growcom and the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association would like to thank the Queensland government for their swift response to the issue and in particular for the Minister’s attendance at the grower meeting last week”, Ms Mackenzie, Chief Advocate, Growcom said. 

The value of Queensland strawberries for 2017–18 is forecast to be $160 million.

There are approximately 100 strawberry growers in Queensland, with most production around Beerwah, Wamuran, Elimbah, Caboolture, Bundaberg and Granite Belt. 

Queensland growers produce up to 30,000 tonnes of fruit per season.

Media Release from Opposition and our local member with their Concerns of the money not going direct to the farmers.

Funds need to directly support strawberry growers

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander said he was glad the Palaszczuk government supported the LNP’s calls for a strawberry farmer assistance package but was concerned not enough is going directly to farmers.

“The LNP welcomes the government’s $1 million assistance package, but it’s disappointing that money isn’t going directly to strawberry growers,” Mr Mander said.

“Queensland has around 100 growers and people’s livelihoods are at stake, as well as the local jobs these farms support.

“This is a glorified advertising campaign from Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor and won’t assist farmers struck with cash flow issues.

“The sabotage of strawberries hit the industry hard and fast but Annastacia Palaszczuk’s response has been slow and won’t directly support growers. 

“The losses sustained by these farmers will be in the millions and Labor’s response, while a good start, has missed the mark.

“Famers are telling us what they really need is direct financial assistance from the government to ensure they can bounce back for next season.

“The LNP has been calling for an assistance package that directly assisted strawberry growers with cash-flow issues since this saga began.

“We have an industry to protect and we need to catch these mongrels responsible, so they can be held accountable for their crimes.”

Simone Wilson Member for Pumicestone said, “There are two main strawberry growers in my electorate, they are hurting, and they need immediate assistance from the Government”.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock is being discarded and their livelihoods is put in jeopardy by no fault of their own”

“Farms like Oasis Berries along Bribie Island Road have opened their fields to the public to pick their own from 7am to 5pm each day over the school holidays. This is simply to keep their staff employed and paid during this time of crisis”.

“Direct financial assistance for our strawberry farmers is needed and now”.

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