THE HON JASON CLARE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND
THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA
SPOKESPERSON FOR COUNTRY CAUCUS
MEMBER FOR HUNTER
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE CONFIRMS TURNBULL HAS NO TIMEFRAME FOR BLUEBERRIES BEING SOLD TO CHINA
Australian farmers could be prevented from selling blueberries into the mega Chinese market for years, after Agriculture Department officials confirmed the Conservatives had no timeframe for negotiations on an export protocol to begin.
Labor pushed the issue of market access for blueberry farmers into China three months ago.
At that time it was revealed the reason blueberry farmers couldn’t sell their fruit to China was because Barnaby Joyce hadn’t set up an export protocol.
On Monday, after months of pressure by Labor, Anne Ruston announced Australia and China are transitioning to a new two and two agreement that includes Australian apples and blueberries as future market access priorities.
Labor welcomes this announcement.
However, we remain seriously concerned about the timeframe for when actual export protocol negotiations will begin.
The Conservatives refused to commit to a start date outside of a vague commitment to start once a stone fruit protocol was finalised.
Last night at Senate estimates, the Department of Agriculture confirmed that:
“The current active negotiation is on stone fruit and we’re hopeful that will conclude in the not too distant future, although I don’t have a definite timeframe at this stage and then we’ll be able to transition to a new work plan.”
Canada, Peru, Chile and Argentina already have access to the Chinese blueberry market which is growing at 20 per cent per annum.
Barnaby Joyce needs to be honest and provide our blueberry industry with a clear timeframe for when export protocols will actually commence.
WEDNESDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2017
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