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Media Releases

Labor will restore biosecurity after Liberal cuts risk Tasmanian brand and economy

February 09, 2018

Rebecca White

Labor Leader

THE HON Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia

Justine Keay MP

Federal Labor Member for Braddon

Shane Broad MP

Shadow Primary Industries Minister

 

Labor will restore biosecurity after Liberal cuts risk Tasmanian brand and economy

  • Hodgman razor gang put no thought into consequences of cuts
  • Labor will rebuild Biosecurity Tasmania to protect Tasmanian industry
  • 20 new officers at the biosecurity frontline with $3.7 from State Labor, $2 million from Federal Labor
  • Liberal slashing of biosecurity has jeopardised entire industry

Four years after the Hodgman Liberal Government put Tasmania’s economy at risk by slashing $1 million from Biosecurity Tasmania in its first budget, a Majority Labor Government will rebuild the frontline to protect the state’s  international reputation.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said a Majority Labor Government would allocate $3.7 million and Federal Labor would contribute $2 million to recruit an additional 20 biosecurity officers over the next four years, bolstering the state’s biosecurity frontline.

Ms White said it was unacceptable that Tasmania was facing its first fruit fly emergency in 100 years and hardworking Tasmanian biosecurity teams could no longer be asked to do more with less.

“Over the four years of the Liberals, Tasmanians have witnessed unacceptable biosecurity breaches, including Norwegian salmon on supermarket shelves, blueberry rust, myrtle rust, pacific oyster mortality syndrome and now a fruit fly emergency,” Ms White said.

“The fruit fly emergency threatens to puts at risk market access for the fruit industry and vegetables like tomatoes and capsicums. It puts jobs and the state’s economy at risk and, after so many incidents under the Liberals, enough is enough.

“We will fund Biosecurity Tasmania to recruit an extra 20 biosecurity officers.

“We will rebuild Biosecurity Tasmania because there is no option but to ensure we are protecting our brand and our export economy.

“It’s critical that we provide additional staff to help relieve pressure on Biosecurity Tasmania and ensure they are better equipped to cope with ever-increasing pressures.”

Shadow Primary Industries Minister Shane Broad said Labor would address the emergency.

“Labor is willing and ready to step in where the Liberals have failed our farmers – to make an investment in protecting our economy and in protecting the Tasmanian brand,” Dr Broad said.

“Urgent action is needed to give confidence to international markets that we are taking this issue seriously and investing in bolstering our biosecurity capability. We have to focus on prevention and preparedness – not just react to incursions – to protect the Tasmanian brand.”

Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joel Fitzgibbon said:

“The Turnbull Government has consistently undermined Australia’s biosecurity system, the very system that underpins our trade and economic assets.

“The latest discovery of Queensland fruit fly on Flinders Island and Tasmania’s North West could devastate Tasmania’s critical fruit and vegetable industry and its reputation as a clean, green and safe producer of high quality produce.

“Tasmania is seeing record numbers of tourists coming to the state, through every entry point – from airports, ports and on the Spirits of Tasmania and these increased risk points must be resourced to ensure appropriate levels of protection.

“It’s up to State and Federal Labor to step in and provide the resources Biosecurity Tasmania needs to be more effective and keep Tasmania resilient.”

Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay said urgent action is required to give confidence to international markets that are taking this issue seriously.

“Biosecurity staff do an amazing job but under the Liberals they have been stretched to breaking point,” Ms Keay said.

“The Liberals are just not doing enough to respond to this unprecedented biosecurity threat.”

More information: Chris Taylor 0408975225

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