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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9300


Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (16:38): I rise to address an important issue in the Australian olive oil industry. Last week I visited Boundary Bend olives with the Treasurer. This business is one of the Geelong region's great success stories. Boundary Bend produces Cobram Estate olive oil and is the largest Australian manufacturer of extra virgin olive oil in the country, producing around 55 per cent of the market. Boundary Bend has recently been awarded Geelong's business of the year in our recent business excellence awards. Like the rest of the Australian olive oil industry, Boundary Bend is concerned about the unlevel playing field to which it is subjected. Currently, imported olive oils are not required to meet the Australian standard for olive oils and olive pomace oils. As Camilo Olives' Joan McGovern told me, there is a real issue about consumers being able to identify fresh, healthy olive oils.

The industry is concerned that many people have no idea that light and extra light oils are no less fatty than extra virgin olive oil or that they have none of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil; nor do many consumers understand that anything other than extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil is a refined and inferior product. As a result there are a large amount of misleading and deceptive claims in the industry from overseas producers, and local producers are being forced to compete with imported oils, which go to great lengths to conceal the true state of their inferior products. The solution is a mandated standard and a level playing field.