House debates

Monday, 27 May 2013

Statements by Members

SPC Ardmona

1:54 pm

Photo of Sharman StoneSharman Stone (Murray, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

SPC Ardmona is an iconic fruit brand well known in Australia for nearly 100 years. A few weeks back, tragically, the orchardists who supply that cannery were informed that either all or most of their contracts were to be cancelled, that there was to be no more supply of local fruit into that industry. This is because of the extraordinary competition from the imported fruit that comes in these days—mostly from China and South Africa, with tomatoes from Italy. There are over 1,000 jobs that are immediately jeopardised in the factories themselves and also in the immediate downstream transport sector. Obviously, as well as the actual tree pruning and picking and packing, the orchardists themselves are now staring down the problem: do they pull their trees out right now or go into the cost of trying to spray them? Either way there is a biosecurity disaster.

Twenty-seven days ago this government was asked to look at an emergency safeguard action. It is an executive decision they can make right now to give 200 days of protection through higher duties on the imported product to give the local industry a fair chance to recover. I urge this government to look urgently at the application made and passed on from Minister Ludwig on 30 April. This emergency safeguard action is WTO consistent and it is within the law of this nation to bring in such an action. That way we might have a fruit industry into the future.