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TASMANIAN COUNTRY, Friday, January 9, 2015 05
Call for more
THE state's peak farming and
fruitgrower industry bodies are
calling for clarity from the
State Government over its
plans for the TT-Line.
With more than 90 per cent
of the state's largest fruitgrow-
ers planning expansion over
the next five years, the ferry
service to Melbourne from De-
vonport is vital.
Tasmanian Farmers and
Graziers Association chief
executive Jan Davis said extra
space was required for freight.
The government has an-
nounced the Spirit of Tas-
mania ferries will be revamped
to increase passenger capacity.
Ms Davis said the associ-
ation and Fruit Growers Tas-
mania had no formal contact
from the government on the
"We want more detail. Our
point has consistently been
that freight capacity is related
inversely to tourist capacity,"
Ms Davis said.
"So, if the number of tour-
ists increase, as the govern-
ment has said is its target, then,
by definition, the space for
freight reduces. They're ferries,
not a Tardis."
The Tasmanian Farmers
and Graziers Association and
Fruit Growers Tasmania said
that while plans to improve the
tourism experience on the
Spirit was important, it was
also vital the government be
transparent about its plans for
fresh freight on the vessels.
"At no stage have we said
that freight capacity has been
reduced," Ms Davis said.
"It's just simple math. And
the most likely time for space
constraints to happen is over
January -- the peak time for
both tourism and fresh
Fruit Growers Tasmania
business development man-
ager Phil Pyke said the focus
on Asian markets was going to
grow freight volumes.
"If Tasmania is going to
reach its full agricultural po-
tential towards 2020, capacity
across Bass Strait will continue
to remain under pressure," Mr
Minister for Infrastructure
Rene Hidding said under the
new business model, there
would be a significant increase
in freight capacity on the fer-
ries, with 42 more day sailings
scheduled over the 2015-2016
peak and shoulder seasons.
TONNES of juicy cherries are being
picked and packed in orchards across the
state ready for domestic and export
Howard Hansen's fruit operation in
the state's South is planning to pack about
1500 tonnes of cherries this season but Mr
Hansen is careful not to get carried away.
"We don't get too excited until they are
picked and packed into their boxes
because weather changes, for example
heavy constant rain, can smash a season,"
By the end of next week a crew of
about 200 pickers will be bringing in the
fruit, with another crew of about 130
packing the crop ready for shipment
across the globe.
With the packing shed situated in
Grove, this makes Mr Hansen's orchard
one of the Huon Valley's biggest
All of Hansen Orchards' fresh export
fruit is shipped to Melbourne on the TT-
Line from Devonport.
"Freight is a worry, we need to increase
capacity on TT-Line because our industry
coincides with the peak tourist industry,
which can cause some product to be left
behind," he said.
"Going to schedule, we can pack our
fruit in the afternoon and it is delivered
into our Melbourne warehouse by 9am
RIPE AND READY: Howard Hansen with some of his cherries destined for export.
Picture: RICHARD JUPE
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