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Sunraysia receives agribusiness boost.



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John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5032 4510 Fax (03) 5032 9407

Thursday, 6 November 2003

Sunraysia receives Agribusiness Boost

Sunraysia agribusiness sector will share in $2.5 million from the latest funding round of the Australian Government’s $20 million New Industries Development Program (NIDP).

John Forrest, The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee said the funding—announced today by the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss—was part of the Australian Government’s Backing Australia’s Ability initiative.

“This funding reflects the Government’s commitment to backing our nation’s brightest agribusiness innovators,” Mr Forrest said.

“Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd of Mildura and Fresh Concepts Corp Pty Ltd of Irymple are two of 37 Australian agribusinesses to benefit directly from today’s funding for the NIDP’s In-Market Experience Scholarship and Pilot Commercialisation Project (PCP) schemes.

“Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd will receive $110,000 to commercialise the production of fresh green garlic. They will undertake pilot trials of a new fresh garlic variety and take French technology through to a state of readiness for full scale commercial investment. The green garlic will provide garlic out of season to traditional garlic enabling year round supply of Australian grown garlic.”

“Fresh Concepts Corp Pty Ltd will also receive $110,000 to commercialise a packaged fresh and fast two-minute asparagus. The packaging system, developed by them and their supply chain partner, Bantec International, extends the shelf-life of asparagus, and enables use of shorter asparagus stems and can be used in the microwave.”

Mr Forrest said the funding was a major boost for Sunraysia’s agribusiness sector and the wider community.

“Rural and regional Australians are flush with new and innovative ideas. With a bit of assistance and support, we can make these ideas a reality. And of course the benefits of the projects flow on to local communities, providing long-term financial rewards and new employment opportunities,” Mr Forrest said.

“Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd and Fresh Concepts Corp Pty Ltd have shown great initiative in pursuing the development of these innovative schemes and I wish them well with these exciting projects. These are fine examples of the innovation that’s going on in

Media Contact Sally Turvey (03) 5032 4510 -ends-

Media Contact Sally Turvey (03) 5032 4510 -ends-

Australian agribusiness. Once again, the Australian Government has demonstrated its commitment to helping ideas such as this one flourish in commercial markets.”

NIDP has so far funded 85 pilot commercialisation projects and 41 scholarships.

The next round of PCP funding closes on 23 January 2004. For further information on NIDP funding, including guidelines, visit www.affa.gov.au/agribiz, email nidp@affa.gov.au or call 1300 884 588 (for the cost of the local call).