A second round of the Tasmanian Government’s Vineyard and Orchard Expansion Program worth $900,000 has been announced by Minister for Economic Development David O’Byrne, to help maximise the opportunities for sustainable jobs and investment in the wine and fruit industries.
The Program supports the expansion of orchards and vineyards by providing grants that will help the businesses during the early years when the vines and trees are just beginning to grow and are not yet generating income.
In a statement Mr. O’Byrne outlined the strengths of Tasmania and how the state is ideal for producing fruit and wine, as well as recent events that mark the success of the state in the industries.
“Our climate, available water, affordable land, and biosecurity advantages make Tasmania the perfect location for producing premium cool climate fruit and wine,” said Mr. O’Byrne.
“The value of Tasmanian wine sales is growing at 11 per cent, compared with the Australian bottled market at just 5.9 per cent, and the selling price per unit of Tasmanian wine is over double the national average.”
The Minister said one of the key insights obtained from the recent trade mission to Asia was the strong demand for Tasmanian fruit.
“Our fruit growers reported strong interest from international buyers at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica expo in Hong Kong.”
“This reputation was highlighted earlier this month with local cherry grower Tim Reid announced as the 2013 Australian Farmer of the Year.”
Wine Tasmania’s CEO Sheralee Davis said the State’s wine sector is considered a model for other Australian wine regions despite its modest size.
“We are leading the way with a focus on premium wine, demand outstripping supply, prices for both wine grapes and wine amongst the highest in the country and recent investment in our sector and strong industry / government collaboration,” Ms. Davies said.
“The Tasmanian Vineyard & Orchard Expansion Program builds on the opportunity for market-led growth, recognising the capital-intensive nature of the wine sector and providing interest rate relief for the initial period before new vines are producing fruit and therefore income.”
The projects that were supported in Round 1 of the Program created around 60 direct and indirect jobs and saw private investment of almost $2.2 million.
Applications for Round Two of the Vineyard and Orchard Expansion Program close on Friday, 29 November, for more information visit www.development.tas.gov.au.