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Lara Giddings, MP

Premier

David O’Byrne, MP

Minister for Economic Development

Friday, 10 February 2012

Forests Agreement delivers Major Investment In Tasmanian Salmon Industry


The Premier, Lara Giddings, and Minister for Economic Development, David O’Byrne, today welcomed an $8.5 million project that will boost aquaculture production in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and create 160 new jobs in the region.


The multi-million dollar project has been made possible through $3.9 million from the Intergovernmental Forests Agreement, with Tassal and Huon Aquaculture contributing an additional $4.6 million.


“This is further proof, if anyone needed it, that Tasmania is well and truly open for business,” Ms Giddings said.


“It is also an example of how the IGA is helping to manage the market-driven change occurring in our forest industry by creating and retaining jobs in regional Tasmania.


“My Government has a strong jobs focus and the creation of 160 new jobs will provide a massive boost for this region.

“I very much welcome both the private investment as well as the support of the Australian Government and particularly that of the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean.


“This is an exciting development that would not have been possible if the Liberal Opposition had their way in tearing up the $276 million IGA.”


The project will see the construction of pipelines and bathing zones which will enable in-situ fresh water bathing of salmon.


Fresh water bathing is used to manage fish health and having a fresh water source available close to marine farming leases will reduce marine traffic, reduce greenhouse emissions through fuel use and enable improved fish health.


The Minister for Economic Development, David O’Byrne, said the Tasmanian Government’s Economic Development Plan clearly identifies the salmon industry as a priority sector, and so it is fantastic to see more growth and the creation of more jobs.


“Since marine farming of fish in Tasmania started in the mid-1980s, the industry as a whole has expanded to be a major sector within the State with a farm-gate value in 2008-09 of $319 million,” Mr O’Byrne said.


“It is the largest seafood industry by value in Australia. Other secondary industries have also emerged as a result of marine farming, creating additional economic and employment opportunities for Tasmania.”


“Both Tassal and Huon Aquaculture have a proven reputation as premium producers of fresh and smoked salmon products and are significant contributors to the aquaculture industry.


“The project signals a strong future for the Tasmanian salmon industry, which is growing to meet increasing demand for aquaculture products.”


Lara Giddings, MP

Premier

David O’Byrne, MP

Minister for Economic Development

Friday, 10 February 2012

Agricultural Projects Boost to Circular Head Community


Two major agricultural projects in Circular Head have been given a major boost through the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.


The Premier, Lara Giddings, and the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, today announced funding for the $1.5 million Harcus Road Infrastructure project and the $4.25 million Agritas Trade College.


Ms Giddings said the projects would provide jobs, skills development and investment in the Circular Head community, which had been hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis and the downturn in the forest industry.


“The Circular Head community has proven to be extraordinarily resilient in the face of considerable uncertainty in recent years,” Ms Giddings said.


“This region has some great natural and economic advantages, including an abundance of water, quality agricultural land and nation-leading access to the National Broadband network.


“These two major agricultural projects leverage off those advantages and set the scene for a prosperous future with more jobs being created locally.


“It is an example of how the IGA is helping to manage the market-driven change occurring in our forest industry by creating and retaining jobs in regional Tasmania.”


Ms Giddings said $120 million had been secured as part of the Intergovernmental Forestry Agreement, including an initial payment of $20 million in 2011-12.


The Harcus River Road Infrastructure project will allow for the conversion of up to 27 farms from lower value beef production to higher value dairy production.


“This project to take power from Woolnorth to Marrawah has the potential to create an estimated 135 new on-farm jobs and will immediately provide work for many displaced forest workers during construction,” Ms Giddings said.


“World demand for dairy products especially milk powders is growing rapidly and with our investment in irrigation projects and this investment today in energy infrastructure to Marrawah, Tasmania is poised to take advantage of that growth.”


The Agritas Trade College will be located adjacent to the Circular Head Christian School and the Smithton Primary School and is proposed to deliver seven full-time jobs, 200 full qualifications and 400 short course places per year.


The school will facilitate skills development in areas such as agribusiness and irrigation development and will offer nationally recognised qualifications in agriculture and management, along with a wide range of short-course programs.


Ms Giddings said the Agritas Trade College will help to build the skilled workforce required to make the most of the job opportunities available as a consequence of the growth in the agricultural and particularly dairy sector.


“This is an important initiative to give young people hope and a reason to stay in their local community.”


The Minister for Economic Development, David O’Byrne, said the dairy industry is a priority sector under the Economic Development Plan.


“The dairy industry is central to Tasmania’s economic future. It is the single biggest agricultural industry, with an estimated production value of approximately $460 million in processed products, contributing $215 million towards Gross State Product,” Mr O’Byrne said.


“Our state has a strong agricultural tradition and the sector is highly diversified, underpinned by excellent growing conditions, affordable land, relative disease and pest freedom, abundant water resources and strong research and development capability.


“It is estimated the Harcus Road investment will generate up to 75 million litres of milk for the region, and a 12 per cent increase in Tasmania’s milk production, which will bring $30 million in new farm income per year and approximately $75 million net community benefit.


“Of course, we also need highly trained people to run these farms and the trade college will help create job and training opportunities for young people leaving school in communities with low levels of retention, not just in Smithton, but across the whole state.


“These new facilities will be linked up to the NBN, bringing a world of knowledge to the college and exporting Tasmania’s industry expertise to the world.”


Today’s announcement adds to the already long list of exciting investments underway or on the horizon in recognition of Tasmania’s fantastic grazing conditions and strong branding.

These include:


  Fonterra’s $6.5 million gas conversion at Spreyton and $12 million upgrade of its Wynyard cheese plant;

  National Foods investing $150 million expanding and modernising its Burnie and King Island specialty cheese plants;

  Tasmanian Dairy Products plans to build a $60 million milk powder plant in Circular Head; and

  Local success story Ashgrove’s plans for a $5 million expansion at Elizabeth Town, creating 50 jobs.

  Van Diemen’s Land Company plans to triple milk production capacity from the current 5million kgMS/annum to 15million kgMS/annum over a 3 to 4 year investment period.


• IGA FUNDING OFFERS FRESH HOPE TO FARMING COMMUNITIES
But First, the Legislation Needs to Pass

Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Member for Braddon

The Tasmanian Greens today said that projects announced at Circular Head today were a small taste of the kind of benefits regional communities could receive, once the legislative components of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) were in place.

Greens Member for Braddon Paul O’Halloran MP said the Circular Head community was one of many regional communities around the state that had suffered from the economic downturn triggered by the global financial crisis.

“There is no doubt that the economic future of Circular Head will be its productive agricultural sector, which is why it’s so important to start training the next-generation workforce to lead the region’s economic recovery,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“There’s been a major downturn in the Circular Head timber industry following to the collapse in global demand for wood products, and re-skilling the workforce is essential for the region’s economic future.”

“The $120 million from the IGA should flow only after the conservation and industry restructure goals contained in the IGA have been fully implemented.”

“Federal and state Labor need to prioritise getting their act together to ensure the money is invested where it’s really needed.  It will be essential that communities are fully consulted through an open and transparent submissions process.”

“The IGA is certainly not perfect, but it does offer regional communities around the state the potential to develop strengthened and more robust economies.”

Huon Aquaculture, MR: Bathing scheme cleans up efficiency

Upgrades to existing pump stations in the Esperance River, enlargement of an existing reservoir and
an underwater pipeline to Huon Aquaculture’s largest salmon lease are set to dramatically increase
efficiencies for the company – one of the State’s premium salmon producers.

The industry and Federal Government funded upgrade will allow Huon to be more competitive with
overseas producers.

Huon Aquaculture Managing Director Peter Bender said the upgrade and the extension of the
pipeline out to the salmon lease was vital infrastructure that would enable the company to expand
its farming operations, as well as increase employment opportunities in the region by providing
more fish for fresh and value added sales in Australia and for export.

“We are very lucky to be a relatively disease free salmon industry in Tasmania,” said Mr Bender.
“However the one thing we need to combat regularly is the single cell amoeba that infects the
salmon’s gills and results in deterioration of the gill tissue if not treated.

“Tasmania’s ideal water temperature for growing world class salmon is also the ideal environment
for this naturally occurring amoeba.

“Treatment for the amoeba involves bathing the salmon in fresh water for a couple of hours, which
needs to be done on a regular basis throughout the year.

“This means we are heavily reliant on access to fresh water and we incur huge costs in filling liners
with fresh water near the shore and towing them out to the pens to bathe the fish.

“The lack of a pipeline to our lease was becoming a constraint with our operations continuing to
grow and this scheme has provided the impetus for us to deal with that effectively.

“This upgrade will enable us to do everything on the water next to the pens, cutting time and
resource costs.

“The cut down in towing will also mean our fuel usage and carbon emissions in the region will
reduce significantly.

“The increase in reservoir size will also mean greater water security for the business in times of
particularly low rainfall.”

The scheme will provide a major boost for the sector and is supported by Tasmania’s two largest
salmon growers, Huon Aquaculture and Tassal.

“Along with Tassal, we have joined with the State and Federal Governments to bring this upgrade to
fruition to ensure that as an industry, we can continue to thrive in the State,” said Mr Bender.