Cut them up, not out
The recent discovery of strawberry contamination is very disappointing. Like many Australians, I see this as senseless sabotage on a primary industry worth half a billion dollars.
I’d like to remind readers that Australia has a strong record on food safety, and these incidents are rare and isolated.
Nevertheless this contamination is significant. At the time of writing, Queensland Police and Queensland Health continue to lead the investigation into cases of contaminated strawberries. I’d like to commend the police for their work on this matter and urge everyone to be vigilant for potential contaminants.
My advice is to cut strawberries up – don’t cut them out. We need to make sure that as a nation we get behind our farmers by continuing to buy Australian produce.
The Coalition Government is providing an additional $1 million to put more food safety officials on the ground, to increase detection and fast track recalls when they are requested by State and Territory Governments.
Additionally, the penalties for these criminal acts are now set to be more severe, following legislation that has been introduced in Parliament that will create new offences, and increase the maximum penalty to up to 15 years in NSW.
These actions reflect the seriousness with which the Government views the current threats against Australian industry and particularly the livelihoods of growers and their communities.
Strawberry growers across the country are feeling the pressure of this incident, with wholesale prices reportedly plummeting to around 33 cents per punnet, well below the cost of production. Strawberries need to be continuously harvested and for some growers, it is costing $25,000 a day to harvest fruit destined only for dumping. This is why we as consumers can use our buying power to continue to support the strawberry industry.
Residents of my electorate have shown massive support for our primary industries in times of drought and I have every confidence that residents will show the same faith in our half a billion dollar strawberry industry by continuing to buy fruit. Cut them up – not out.
Nominate a Mobile Black Spot today
The Coalition Government has re-opened the Mobile Black Spot Program’s database of black spot locations for new nominations, and I am strongly encouraging residents of my electorate to participate.
Nominations can come directly to my office. Alternatively, you can submit them to your local council. These nominations will help inform the rollout of the next round of the Australian Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program.
I will be making submissions on behalf of my constituents to the national mobile black spot database. The database is open for four weeks until 11 October, and presents a real opportunity for residents to have their say on problem black spots and encourage mobile operators to invest in our area.
The nominations will support Round 4 of the program, which will look to provide new or improved mobile coverage in areas where there are clear economic and social benefits.
Round 4 will also look to target medical, educational and emergency services facilities, as well as along key transport routes and in towns that experience seasonal demand due to tourism.
The Coalition will invest $25 million to deliver Round 4 of the program and will soon call for applications from carriers to be selected through a competitive process. Nominations are also being welcomed from State and Territory Governments.
For more information on the program visit: www.communications.gov.au/mbsp. From there you can check out Mobile Black Spots that have already been nominated via the map [National map of reported mobile black spots] or the spreadsheet [Database—mobile black spot database of reported black spot locations].
To nominate a Mobile Black Spot that has not already been identified in the resources listed above, you can email email@example.com or phone my Dubbo office on 02 6882 0999. You can also contact your local council. Nominations will be accepted up until 11 October.