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Sophie seeks aid – MP argues for growers

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SOPHIE Mirabella is confident of Federal Government support for tobacco growers following a meeting with the Prime Minister’s office yesterday.

She has also arranged for growers to meet the federal Agriculture Minister next week.

The member for Indi went to Canberra to raise the matter of assistance to North East tobacco growers who have been offered a $10 million package from tobacco giant British American Tobacco to quit production over the next two years.

“I met with the Prime Minister’s office to brief them on the situation of the local tobacco industry and to outline my strong support for an exit and restructure package,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“I met the chief of staff and received a very sympathetic hearing and a clear understanding of the need for our local growers to receive a fair go.

“This meeting gave me an opportunity to outline my hopes for the future of the local growers and the difficulties they have endured in recent years with the quality of production, the increasing criminal element that has undermined the local industry, and the need to plan for the future and get the best possible outcome for our growers.

“Following the meeting, I’m very confident the Federal Government will provide some form of assistance.”

Mrs Mirabella said she would also arrange a meeting between the Tobacco Co-operative of Victoria with Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran next Wednesday in Melbourne.

“Myrtleford growers need to be rewarded for their innovation, their ability to adapt their growing techniques, their vertical integration, their value adding to the local industry and their persistence in making a go of the industry against difficult international competition and a corrupted world market,” she said.

“These growers have endured some difficult times and we need to help them in their time of need.

“I stand ready with our local growers in Myrtleford to assist them to gain access to a meaningful package of assistance that recognises their current situation and the growers’ contribution to the national economy.”

Business feels the strain as major orders dumped
MYRTLEFORD businesses are already feeling the pressure of a doomed tobacco industry as growers start cancelling orders for machinery and supplies. – full story…

Growers ‘to face tough times’
Region ‘will produce a new crop’
TOBACCO grower Allan McGuffie is optimistic he and other growers in Myrtleford have a future but admits it will be tough. – full story…

Chop chop black market ‘helped destroy industry’
CRIMINALS peddling chop chop had played a major role in the demise of Myrtleford’s tobacco industry, Sophie Mirabella said yesterday. – full story…


Written by Greg Naylor

27 September 2006 at 10:53 pm

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