Cash to help producers

By Country News

The Federal Government has announced details of a $650000 assistance package to help maintain and restore consumer confidence in the safety and quality of Australia’s fresh produce.

Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie visited a strawberry farm in Wandin last week, and said the funding was in addition to previous funding from federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

‘‘The events of the past few months have dealt a significant blow to our strawberry farmers and Australians who love their fresh fruit and vegetables,’’ Ms McKenzie said.

‘‘We were all moved by the way Australians rallied to support our farmers and the Liberal-National Government is determined to keep the passion and momentum going.

‘‘This funding is in addition to the $350000 already announced by the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud to support the strawberry industry to regain and retain market share in key export markets, and maintain or restore confidence in the industry and supply chain.’’

The $650000 will help promote Australia’s fresh produce sector, support our strawberry growers and also encourage Australians to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

The package will:

■Further support Food Standards Australia-New Zealand, which played a pivotal role in co-ordinating the original response and to broaden and speed up their review into high-risk foods;

■Offer assistance to states and territories to give them greater capacity to back health departments with their investigations;

■Initiate an online and social media campaign that will promote and restore consumer confidence in the safety and quality of Australia’s fresh produce, and encourage healthy eating and raise awareness of the health benefits of consuming fresh fruit and vegetables.