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Local impacts of New Coalition Manufacturing policy

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray

Friday 23rd August 2013


‘The Coalition has now released its manufacturing policy. This policy really does give us hope in regions like Northern Victoria where the Labor party’s policy seemed to do all it could to kill our competitiveness in industries like our preserved fruit and dairying,’ Sharman Stone the Liberal Member for Murray, said today.

‘In particular the Coalition Policy will establish a $50 million transition program. This will grant up to $10mill per community to help them transition to new or expanding industry opportunities like alternative fruit varieties or different fruit or dairy processing and packaging. It will also strengthen anti-dumping regimes and abolish the carbon taxes.

Quite clearly food manufacturing is an industry that has great prospects for the future with growing demands for high quality foods in the Asian region. Unfortunately companies like SPCA, the last remaining fruit manufacturer in Australia has almost gone to the wall because of the rush of cheap imports flooding in on Labor’s watch.

Slashed federal funding and inadequate quarantine checks and the high dollar let Coles and Woolworths shop at bargain basement prices for South African canned peaches, Italian canned tomatoes and an assortment of canned product from China. They stuffed these into their home brands at up to half the price of home grown. Our biggest dairy processor is also shedding staff.

We need special support for our orchardists who wish to plant different varieties of trees to take advantage of the growing markets for high quality foods in the future. As everybody knows it takes three to five years for a new tree to earn its keep in a farm enterprise. Without income from trees that once supplied SPCA, these farmers are really up against it.

Many of our orchardists carry drought debt, they have had to survive years of very low prices for their product and they can’t easily swap to supply the fresh fruit market where there is over supply and prices are also low. However our growers are expert in growing fruit for manufacturing and should be supported to do this into the future. There are enormous local economy gains, in particular in employment, if this industry is properly supported.

All farmers, whether dairy or orchard, must be paid fair prices for their product if there is to be an up and coming generation of food producers in our great food bowl,’ Sharman Stone said. ‘The Coalition’s new policy recognises what is needed.

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