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AU: Industry welcomes new Government horticulture role

The Voice of Horticulture has welcomed the appointment of Senator Anne Ruston as Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water, with responsibility for horticulture.

The important industry advocacy role of the Voice of Horticulture has been endorsed by Senator Anne Ruston, newly appointed as Assistant Minister responsible for Horticulture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Hailing from South Australia, Liberal Senator Anne Ruston takes over responsibility for the sector from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. As the owner of Ruston’s Roses in Renmark, a commercial cut-flower business and home to Australia’s largest rose garden, she is already familiar with the horticultural sector. 

Senator Ruston recently met with Directors of the Voice of Horticulture when opening the new offices of Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL). Directors welcomed the recognition of horticulture in the agriculture and water portfolio and discussed some of the key policies impacting on horticulture growth as well as issues relating to rural and regional Australia.

Senator Ruston offered strong support for the Voice of Horticulture as a representative body for the industry. “I am absolutely 100 per cent behind you in making sure this organisation [Voice of Horticulture] works,” said Senator Ruston. ”As a government if someone comes to you with a united voice speaking on behalf of a sector to which the issue pertains then it is very, very easy for us to go forward with common purpose and to come to a productive outcome.”

In opening the new APAL office Senator Ruston discussed the importance of infrastructure development to ensure growers could produce and get their fresh produce to market. She also acknowledged the export opportunity and offered to help in any way she could to increase exports.

Horticulture exports are currently valued at $2 billion but with reduced tariffs and improved market access in North Asia this figure could grow quickly. Directors of the Voice of Horticulture spoke with Senator Ruston about the need for an industry roadmap. 
“I would be really keen to talk to you about what is it that we need to do to increase exports because if we can send more produce overseas we can also get more competitive tension in the domestic market so we can get better returns in your pocket,” Senator Ruston said.

Senator Ruston noted the role government can play in regulation that supports Australia’s brand as one of the cleanest, greenest and safest producers and in export market access, but also the importance of allowing businesses to simply get on with business. 

Chair of the Voice of Horticulture, Tania Chapman said that “The horticulture industry, consists of 30,000 businesses and with an annual turnover estimated at $10 billion. As the largest agriculture employer it has a substantial impact on the economic well-being of regional Australia.”

Ms. Chapman believes that the Senator’s endorsement of the Voice of Horticulture will ensure that industry issues can be effectively communicated to government. 
“For the industry to realise its potential we need government to listen to and address some of the key issues of concern” she said. According to Ms. Chapman, “The appointment of Senator Ruston augers well for an improved understanding of horticulture industry issues.”

For more information
Voice of Horticulture
Tania Chapman
T: 0428 291 717 

John Dollisson
T: 0413 111 123 
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