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Government provides Australia's Native Flower industry with the right environment

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Judith Troeth Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

DPIE98/37T 1 August 1998


The combined efforts of the Australian native flower growers industry and new Federal Government initiatives in the primary industry sector are producing rewarding outcomes for growers, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Senator Judith Troeth, said today.

Senator Troeth was speaking at the opening of the Australian Flora and Protea Growers Association's 13th annual national conference in Toowoomba, Queensland.

This $80 million dollar industry is seeking the benefits from research jointly managed by government and voluntary industry contributions through the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). These include:

• gathering information about overseas markets; • evaluating work on new species and improved varieties of existing species; and • distributing a newsletter containing valuable research information.

And RIRDC's Wildflowers and Native Plants Program has a R&D budget of $540,000 for 1998-99 to help the industry maintain its competitive edge."

Senator Troeth said that Australia's $80 million native flower industry was a successful and innovative exporter and an important employer in rural and regional Australia.

"The 300 or so species of Australian wildflowers and proteas we export are worth around $25-$30 million a year, and the Government strongly believes that increasing exports and finding new markets is the key to the industry achieving its full potential.

"We have the skills, the infrastructure and many natural advantages to make sure it happens. Australia has a large geographic area, a wide range of soils and climate and can provide northern hemisphere countries with 'out-of-season' produce.

"And it is pleasing to see the industry is beginning to develop significant markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as the more traditional ones of Japan, North America and western Europe.

Parliament House C anberra ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 3002 r~„. mol <077 0905

Unit 1, 322-352 St Kilda Rd St Kilda VIC 3182 Tel: (03) 9593 9511

Fax: (03) 9593 9971

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"The Federal Government has also put in place a number of important initiatives to foster growth and improvements in the horticulture sector, including:

• the Australian Plant Health Council to coordinate plant health policy; • the Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer within AQIS to monitor pest and disease incursions and coordinate emergency responses; • the National Strategy for the Management of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals; • the Action Plan for Australian Agriculture, which sets out a vision for agriculture over

the next ten years; and • the 'Supermarket to Asia' concept, which helps Australian businesses win markets in Asia.

"These initiatives will provide the industry with the right environment in which to operate but to ensure its long term future, the industry itself must be innovative, competitive and manage its resource base skilfully and sustainably."

Further inquiries:

Senator Troeth's office Alex Staples (02) 6277 3002 or 0417 449 921 DPIE Andrew Combe (02) 6272 5493

Internet: http://w w w edia_releases/ troeth/ index.html