Media conference in Stanthorpe, Queensland

14 December 2021

QUESTION: What are you here announcing?

DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Well, proudly today, the Federal Government is building on the $25 million that we put out over 18 months ago for netting. Not just for birds, but for hail, for our horticulture industry. Today we're announcing another $35 million nationwide. And here in Queensland, $10 million will go into Queensland horticulture, to build new netting to be able to grow horticulture to give our producers the confidence to go forward to do new plantings and to develop and to actually increase their production. This is up to grants of up to $300,000, and those that were part of the initial phase of which here, Queensland, there was $2 million. And a million of that's already been spent here in the Southern Downs. We're saying to them that you'll be able to top that up to that $300,000 to make sure that you can invest in your properties, in your family's incomes, and in the Southern Downs community.
This is an important program in building the capacity of not only horticulture across Queensland, but across the country. We see this as a way of us reaching a hundred-billion-dollar goal that agriculture has set itself by 2030 and investing in family farms. Investing in family farms right here in the Southern Downs is an important part. And you've got to understand, it's not just them, it'll be the businesses here like Netpro, that will be also the beneficiaries of this. We're saying to these farmers that you should buy and invest locally in the businesses that can do this netting for you. That way, it's an economic stimulus.

QUESTION: What prompted this investment? Was there a reason that it came now?

DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Basically, it's building on the previous program. We did a pilot some 18 months ago. We found the success of that and the confidence that that's instilled. Not just in apple and pears, and we started with apple and pears. And today, we're extending it beyond, right across the horticulture sector, so that every part of the horticulture sector can have a drink out of this. It's important to give them confidence and understanding that it's not just apple and pears that will get the benefit, but right across the sector.

QUESTION: Is this state-of-the-art netting? Is it anything different to what you've given funding for before? How does it work?

DAVID LITTLEPROUD: Effectively, it can be- whether it beef or hail, and that's obviously a little bit more expensive than just for pests, it's effectively up to the producer. We're leaving it in their hands, and we're simply saying we're going to partner with you. These grants are important in trying to build the production and the capacity here and across the country. And we're saying that if we give that helping hand and they put their own money out, then that's going to be an investment in agriculture and their communities.