Under Labor, Victoria misses out on Almond Centre
14 April 2015
Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture:
“Under the Coalition’s commitment, Mildura would have had a $12 million investment that would have made Victoria the home of the National Almond Centre of Excellence.
“Seventy per cent of Australia’s almond production happens in Victoria, and this sector is our fastest growing horticulture export. Why wouldn’t Daniel Andrews fight to make sure Victoria secures the National Centre of Excellence?”
Peter Crisp, The Nationals Member for Mildura:
“I’m disappointed at this news because it confirms we have a Melbourne Labor Government and Minister who don’t care about what is important to our region.
“The Coalition had done the work in government and the money was there, but the chance to be the national base for the Centre of Excellence has been lost and Mildura will play second fiddle to South Australia. The Coalition would not have allowed this to happen.”
29/10/2014 - The Victorian Coalition government announced a $12 million commitment that would see Victoria become home to the Australian Almond Centre of Excellence. The project included new research programs and capital works at Irymple. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/coalition-pledges-12-million-for-almond-horticulture-research-in-sunraysia-20141028-11d15g.html
The investment proposal was negotiated with industry, and Australian Almond Board CEO Ross Skinner told The Weekly Times.
“It’s been terrific that the [Victorian Coalition] government has recognised the potential of the almond industry and what it can do in terms of boosting exports along the Murray River.” http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/business/horticulture/million-almond-research-centre-election-promise-for-sunraysia/story-fnker6g8-1227105794553
Under the Coalition’s commitment, Victoria was to be the lead site for the new Australian Almond Centre of Excellence. There was discussion of a complimentary small trial orchard to be established in South Australia where field days for growers could take place.
19/12/2014 - The Weekly Times reported that Daniel Andrews Labor Government had failed to match the Coalition’s commitment and South Australian Government was lobbying the Australian Almond Board to base the Almond Centre of Excellence in South Australia. http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/2774719/almond-crack-sa-swoops-on-sunraysias-proposed-12-million-centre-of-excellence/
15/4/2015 - Minister Jaala Pulford tells Sunraysia Daily no funding was left for the centre. http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/2884315/centres-tough-to-crack/
FACT: The Coalition commitment was $7 million in new funding available in forward estimates under the Growing Food and Fibre program and $5 million of reprioritised funding which is already within the 2014-15 Agriculture Budget.