The Primary Industries Minister, Mr Llewellyn, should announce assistance for Tasmania's frost affected stone fruit growers prior to his discussions with the Federal Minister.
Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Jeremy Rockliff, said while he supported the stone fruit industry and State Minister's request for Federal Government funding, it was vital that State support be provided in the first instance.
Mr Llewellyn says that he is meeting the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran, in New Zealand at the end of this week to discuss this crucial matter.
Mr Rockliff said that when Victoria's Goulburn Valley fruit growers were affected by severe frosts in September, it was the State Government which first announced immediate financial assistance of $4.9 million. Following this, Federal Government support was forthcoming.
"If Minister Llewellyn is truly dedicated to assisting Tasmanian stone fruit growers, he should show it, in the first instance, with firm State Government dollars," Mr Rockliff said.
"If it is good enough for the Victorian Government to properly act in this way, it is good enough for the Tasmanian Government to do the same.
"This will demonstrate, in no uncertain terms, to Minister McGauran that the Tasmanian Government is serious about looking after our valuable stone fruit industry and its many members."
Mr Rockliff said that Minister Llewellyn should consider measures to assist fruit growers, some of which have lost 90 p.c. of their annual crops, such as:
· financial counselling and assistance with business plans;
· council rate relief;
· low interest loans or loan subsidies; and
· assistance through Rural & Community Health for the provision of appropriate support networks for growers, their employees and their families.