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TAS Country : March 29th 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012 Tasmanian Country 3 News Farmers seek freight deal ROGER HANSON TASMANIAN farmers are de- manding a fair stake in export assistance and will continue to push the issue. The Federal Parliamentary Sec- retary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sid Sidebottom, this week met with about 50 industry and government representatives in Launceston to discuss the freight issues. The conference was under the chair of Infrastructure Australia. Mr Sidebottom represented the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese ''There was a clear recognition and resolve that Tasmania needs to comprehensively tackle the is- sue of its export freight and transport needs and develop an effective long-term strategy,'' Mr Sidebottom said. ''The talks were very constructive. A follow-up to this week's forum is planned within the 10 days.'' Federal members Dick Adams, Geoff Lyons also attended. The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA), and state Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne, have been press- ing for reform in the review of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES). The Federal Government is not to review the TFES, but is provid- ing a $20 million assistance pack- age, which the TFGA welcomes. The Commonwealth advised the Tasmanian Government it would not be adjusting the TFES to include north-bound international exports from Tasmania. The TFGA which represents 3500 farm businesses, is seeking fair claim in the distribution of the $20 million assistance package. Many Tasmanian farmers send premium food and fibre through- out the world. TFGA chief executive Jan Davis said agriculture was the prime driver of the Tasmanian economy. ''It is imperative the criteria for assistance be fair and equitable to all exporters, especially farmers,'' Ms Davis said. The TFGA had been pressing the Federal Govern- ment to review the TFES so that it would take into account: Tasmania no longer has direct shipping links overseas and there- fore must ship exports through Melbourne at a disproportionately high cost; The recent proposed hike in Port of Melbourne charges; There is no carbon tax exemp- tion for Bass Strait shipping fuel whereas there is for road fuel. Ms Davis said the TFGA wanted to have input when the $20 million assistance guidelines were deter- mined to ensure they did not disadvantage farm exporters. She said a TFES review still was the preferred outcome. ''Without a level playing field, Tasmanian farmers remained at a distinct disadvantage with competitors on the mainland,'' she said. Mr O'Byrne is disappointed at the Federal Government's latest position on reform of the TFES. He said he was determined to continue fighting for improve- ments to the scheme, to support Tasmanian exporters. ''We've been fighting to support Tasmanian exporters and jobs on this issue for more than six months,'' Mr O'Byrne said. ''Our submission to the Federal Government was comprehensive, well-researched, fully costed and affordable. ''Tasmanian exporters need ur- gent support, and we'll continue to fight for it.'' Leader of the Opposition, Will Hodgman, said he was incredibly disappointed with the reform be- ing ruled out. ''A fairer and more equitable freight subsidy scheme is essential to ensure Tasmanian producers are not further disad- vantaged by coming from an is- land state,'' he said. Business blooms on lavender farm KAROLIN MacGREGOR Continued Page 6 WALKING around the Bridestowe Lavender Farm it is easy to see why more than 50,000 visitors decided to go through its gates each year. In the five years since they purchased the busi- ness, farm owners Robert and Jennifer Ravens have worked hard to make sure that tourists who visit the property have an unforgettable experience. That strategy seems to be working and now the couple are even busier than ever, managing the tourism, farming and manufacturing sides of the operation. The lavender farm, at Nabowla in the state's northeast, is the biggest of its kind in the country and exports lavender oil to several overseas mar- kets. Since taking over, the Ravens have also signifi- cantly expanded the range of products made on site. With about 280 prod- ucts now in their range, most of which are made at the farm, the Ravens were running out of storage room and recently held a clearing sale to help free up some space. ''We really had no choice,'' Mr Raven said. ''We've got so many products now and we were simply running out of room.'' A good crowd of buyers turned out for the sale which featured some equipment dating back over 90 years to when the farm was in- itially established. There are about 44ha under lavender pro- duction and since tak- ing over the business the Ravens have under- taken a major replant- ing program. About 60 per cent of the lavender-growing area has now been suc- cessfully replanted over the past four years. The new areas are planted in July and Mr Ravens said because of the size of the plants they established, they could well get a small harvest off the new plants in their first season. ''The climate here is just simply perfect for lavender production,'' Mr Ravens said. ''We grow on dry land so we do need regular rainfall and that's nor- mally what we get.'' Mr Ravens said this season had been ideal for lavender production with plenty of sunshine and well-timed rains. There are five different clones of lavender from the one family grown at the farm. Mr Ravens said each type ripened at a slightly different time which made harvesting easier. TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania After harvest clean up. Avoid future crop contamination by allowing poppy seed to germinate on the ground surface before deep ploughing or ripping. Your Field Officer can advise 2058267-120309 2071887-120330 • • •
March 22nd 2012
April 5th 2012