The Australian Government will invest $350,000 in a new program to restore confidence in Australian strawberries and ensure local produce is safe to eat.
This is real money on the table which will be used to boost markets at home and overseas so growers can sell the strawberries they harvest.
The new package is being developed alongside peak group Strawberries Australia and will look at:
- Giving consumers confidence their strawberries are safe with tamper-proof packaging
- Developing better safety procedures on packing lines.
- A campaign to show shoppers what's being done to stop needles getting into strawberries.
Further, the project will work with export markets to ensure they understand our improved food safety measures.
Our government has already strengthened export requirements with strawberries being x-rayed and shrink wrapped. So far, nearly 100 consignments have been sent overseas under the new conditions.
The program forms part of the $1 million our government has announced to support the industry, alongside the assistance offered for strawberry growers through the Farm Household Allowance.
The cowards undermining our strawberry industry now face tougher punishments for their actions with an increase in the maximum penalty from 10 to 15 years for intentionally contaminating food and changes to ensure Commonwealth laws capture the sabotage of Australia's food supply.
We will do everything we can to help our farmers, but we urge Australians to get our strawberry growers back on their feet? by getting their products on their plates. ?
-- Prime Minister, Scott Morrison - Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud?