Tasmanian dairy industry gets innovative government boosts

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th February 2012

Tasmania’s Premier Lara Giddings, together with the Federal Minister for Regional Development Simon Crean, announced two projects in Tasmania’s North West that will boost the further development of Tasmania’s dairy industry.

The two projects involve $4.25 Million to fund a new Tasmanian dairy-focused Agritas Trade College at Smithton, and $1.5 Million for a major upgrade to Harcus River Road.

The money is all coming as a bi-product of $120 million to be provided by the Australian government in a partnership with the Tasmanian government through the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) economic diversification package. This Federal-State agreement aims to diversify regions affected by a required decrease in forest logging as part of Tasmania’s protection of its natural heritage forests.

Mr Crean said, “By investing in the dairy industry, through major upgrades to Harcus River Road and the new Agritas Trade centre, we unlock future investments and turn the regions abundant source of water into a driver of economic diversification”.

The Tasmanian government believes the Harcus River Road improvements, from Woolnorth to Marrawah, will pave the way for lower value beef farms to transition into higher value dairy farms, capable of using modern robotic dairy technology.

Mr Crean added that the upgrade will create more than 200 jobs during construction and 135 ongoing jobs on farms as a result of the improvements.

The Agritas Trade College being planned is expected to become one of Australia’s top dairy skills training centres, offering nationally recognised qualifications in agriculture and management.

The new Agritas Trade Centre will also utilize the new Northern Broadband Network services to deliver online learning and will offer nationally recognised qualifications in agriculture and management, and a wide range of short-course programs in technical dairy skills and broader agribusiness management.

Milk production currently represents 24 per cent of farm-output value in Tasmania, and the dairy sector, including processing, directly employs around 2700 Tasmanians.