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$12 million in funds available for regional food processing.



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Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper

MEDIA RELEASE

April 7, 2005

$12 million in funds available for regional food processing

The Australian Government has unveiled a four-year, $12 million commitment to boosting food processing in regional Australia, The Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, has announced.

The Food Processing in Regional Australia program honours an election commitment by the Howard/Anderson Government and is part of its new initiative - Investing in our Farming Future.

Mr Hartsuyker said the program would help stimulate economic growth by encouraging the value-adding of food produce before it leaves rural and regional areas, and by also strengthening the associated infrastructure and support networks.

“Regional food producers make a major contribution to the Australian economy,” he said.

“In fact, around 40 per cent of all food processing in Australia takes place in regional areas. The Food Processing in Regional Australia program is about supporting those producers and ensuring their positive influence continues to grow.”

Mr Hartsuyker said that, under the program, individuals, groups of primary producers or small to medium sized agribusinesses are eligible for Australian Government funding of up to $200,000 for projects:

• that facilitate and encourage food processing; • set up regional networks; and • establish market contacts that will help boost regional economies.

“To be eligible, a business must have fewer than 200 employees and an annual turnover of less that $25 million,” he said.

“They must be operating in rural or regional Australia, and working, or intending to work, in food-processing and marketing activities. This includes producing fresh, semi-processed or processed food, or the ingredients for a processed food product.

“Successful applicants will need to provide matching funding for their proposals.”

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Email:greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 62 77 4447

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33. Mobile 0408 532 785 Email: greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 6277 4447

Mr Hartsuyker said an advisory committee has been appointed to assess the applications and provide advice on funding priorities.

Applications for the first round of funding close on 1 June 2005.

For further information on the Food Processing in Regional Australia program, or for application forms and copies of its guidelines, visit www.daff.gov.au/regionalfood, or call the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 1300 794 550.

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