Primary Industries and Water

Labor understands the important role that primary industries play in our economy and our community.

Agriculture makes a significant contribution to the State’s employment, exports and investment.

Labor is committed to growing the agricultural sector so it continues to be a key driver of Tasmania’s economy.

Centre of Excellence in Agriculture

Agriculture is a major employer in Tasmania and makes a significant contribution to the economy. 

Labor will contribute $10 million to the construction of a world-class Centre of Excellence in Agriculture in North-West Tasmania. 

The Centre will bring together a number of research and training facilities in one location, providing stronger training pathways for individuals and supporting innovation and excellence in agricultural businesses.

It will also reduce costs for businesses wanting to develop new processes and products, and provide new opportunities for industry-led collaborations with UTAS researchers. Labor will allocate $2 million to collaborative research projects. 

A Centre of Excellence in Agriculture is part of Labor’s Plan for Jobs our fully costed plan that will deliver jobs for 35,000 Tasmanians.

Total cost over four years: $12 million

Working for Tasmanians to Support Forestry

Labor knows how important the forestry industry is to Tasmania’s economy, and in particular to the economies of many of our regional communities. 

We also understand how important the timber industry is to a range of other industries such as building and construction. 

That’s why we will always defend the industry against attacks from the Greens, on one hand, and attempts by the Liberals to politicise the industry, on the other. The last thing the industry needs is for forestry to become a political football and that is why we are committed to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, the Regional Forest Agreement and stopping dangerous protest actions. 

Labor will always stand up for the right of Tasmanians to earn a living in the forestry industry. 

Labor will provide fairer access to forestry resources 

Labor commits to work with industry to resolve native hardwood resource security issues on State land arising from recent bushfires and the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, to deliver long-term certainty for investment and jobs. 

Labor commits to work with industry to develop and facilitate access to native timber resources on private land. 

We will also work with industry to develop and support necessary legislative changes or financial incentives that will assist with private growers planting more trees on farms. 

And Labor commits to investigate options to enhance the productivity of state-owned native forests to provide a stable 10 year wood supply for major customers, country saw millers and the special species sector. 

Labor will back future growth and innovation in the timber industry 

Labor will extend our $55 million Tasmanian Jobs and Innovation Fund to include the timber industry. 

Through this Labor commits to work with industry to identify and implement appropriate policy initiatives that can assist in attracting major investment in Tasmania’s forest, timber processing and manufacturing sectors. 

This will encourage innovation, the adoption of new technologies and the development of new products, and thereby increase the international competitiveness of the sector. 

Labor will support more efficient road transport for the forestry sector 

Labor commits to investigate and address road infrastructure pinch points like narrow bridges and load restrictions on key forestry and freight routes. 

Labor will also investigate the potential economic, social and environmental impacts and barriers of adapting log-trailers to transport inter-modal containers as well as logs (similar to TasRail’s log-trailers). Adapting log-trailers may provide an opportunity to increase the backhaul utilisation of transport assets. 

Labor will upgrade our ports to reduce costs and improve efficiency for exporters 

Labor’s Sea Highway policy provides funding for significant port upgrades. This will improve forest product handlings and loading, and reduce costs for exporters. Key upgrades include: 

  • New woodchip shiploader at Bell Bay 
  • Complete the northern access road to Hobart Port 
  • De-bottlenecking of Burnie truck tipping ramps and stacking conveyors 

Labor also commits to review TasPorts’ current Schedule of Port Charges and the impact on major freight customers and the Tasmanian economy. 

Defending the industry against economic and political attacks 

One of the most disappointing developments in recent years has been the steady politicisation of the forestry industry. Green extremists like the Bob Brown Foundation are actively trying to sabotage the operations of legitimate businesses, while the Liberals seek to exploit these actions for political advantage rather than bringing an end to them. 

Within our first 100 days, Labor commits to provide stronger protection to workers and businesses by legislating aggravated trespass laws and Timber Harvesting Safety Zones. 

Labor also commits to increased resources to reduce workplace invasions by employing 4 additional WorkPlace Standards workers. These workers will assist businesses to implement and maintain good workplace health and safety and will be the key contact when a workplace is invaded or impeded in a way that causes a health and safety risk. 

Labor is serious about workplace safety and has a zero tolerance approach to Green extremists who endanger themselves or others. 

Backing the industry into the future 

Labor commits to develop an annual document that presents analyses of data relating to forest and wood products that includes value of production, trade figures and job numbers. 

Labor will also provide: 

  • $1.5 million over four years to the Tasmanian Timber Promotion Board. 
  • $150,000 over three years to support the Arbre Forest Industry Training and Careers Hub. 
  • $300,000 to partner with the Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network to establish a Diversity Action Plan Project to increase the gender and cultural diversity of the resources sector. 

Labor’s Sea Highway Plan

As an island state, Tasmania’s ‘Sea Highway’ is the most important highway we have. It supports our major export businesses in mining, forestry and agriculture, and brings high-value drive tourists to Tasmania. Lack of investment in ports and other key infrastructure is constraining export businesses and putting a handbrake on growth.

Agriculture

Agriculture is one of Tasmania’s largest employers, and one of Tasmania’s most important sources of export revenue.

Labor has a proud record of backing our farmers, most recently through the development of the irrigation schemes.

Labor has an ambitious plan to back our agriculture sector to keep growing into the future.

Labor will build a Centre of Excellence in Agriculture

Labor will contribute $10 million to the construction of a world-class Centre of Excellence in Agriculture in North-West Tasmania.

The Centre will bring together a number of research and training facilities in one location, providing stronger training pathways for individuals and supporting innovation and excellence in agricultural businesses.

It will also reduce costs for businesses wanting to develop new processes and products, and provide new opportunities for industry-led collaborations with UTAS researchers.

Labor will contribute $15 million to a new agricultural research centre in Launceston

A Labor Government will support the planned co-investment between the Tasmanian Government and UTAS in Launceston.

Labor will contribute $15 million towards a state-of-the-art agricultural research centre as part of the University’s $300 million Northern Transformation Project.

This will complement and leverage the capability of Labor’s Centre of Excellence in Agriculture.

Only Labor can be trusted with the Spirit of Tasmania replacement program 

The Spirit of Tasmania replacement program is absolutely essential for our agriculture sector, and in particular for fresh vegetables, berry and cherry producers. These businesses depend on a reliable freight service to get their product to market quickly.

Peter Gutwein and the Liberals shamefully tried to play politics with the vessel replacement program. Tasmania is now back where we were before the last election when the Liberals promised the new ships would be delivered by 2021.

Economist Saul Eslake has estimated each year of delays costs the economy $350 million and 6,000 jobs.

It was a Labor Government that invested in the first Spirit of Tasmania vessels, and only a Labor Government can be trusted to deliver their replacements.

Labor will fix our broken biosecurity

The Liberals have let Tasmanians down badly on biosecurity.

In recent years we’ve seen fruit fly outbreaks, blueberry rust outbreaks and the Government allowing potatoes to be imported using outdated risk assessments.

Labor will fix this mess, and address the huge risk it poses to Tasmania’s economy, by employing an additional 25 permanent biosecurity staff.

Labor will continue to invest in irrigation schemes 

One of Labor’s proudest achievements from its last term in office was establishing the irrigation schemes.

Reliable access to water has helped businesses to drive large increases in agricultural productivity, expand into high-value crops such as wine and cherries, and has resulted in significant land value increases.

Labor will partner with the Federal Government to deliver the Tranche Three irrigation scheme projects. While work continues on the Gretna and Southern Midlands schemes, Labor will provide funding for the development of a business case for the South East Integration Scheme.

Labor will create a Drought Relief and Resilience Taskforce

The success of Tasmania’s agricultural sector helps to power our economy when times are good. We need to be there for our farmers when times are tougher.

In particular, farming communities on Tasmania’s east coast have been affected by drought in recent years.

Labor will invest $5 million in a Drought Relief and Resilience Taskforce, to provide immediate support to drought-affected farmers and build resilience and preparedness for the future.

Labor will create a $2 million Industry Research and Development Fund

Labor will allocate $2 million to support collaborative research projects.

We anticipate these projects will be led by industry and will draw upon the expertise within TIA and Labor’s proposed Centre of Excellence in Agriculture.

Labor will support fermentasmania’s Fermentation Hub proposal

Fermentation is a rapidly growing component of the agrifood sector.

Labor will support fermentasmania’s Fermentation Hub proposal with $3.4 million.

It is anticipated this will leverage and additional $11.5 million of investment and lead to the creation of 350 jobs.

Labor will support the fight against invasive species

Labor will increase funding to each of Tasmania’s three NRMs by $100,000 per year. NRMs are important in the fight against weeds and other invasive species.

Labor will support our livestock and meat industries

Labor will support a North West saleyard and a feasibility study for a co-located multi-species service kill abattoir.

Tasmania’s island status was central to keeping us safe from COVID-19. Labor believes it should also be the centrepiece of our economic recovery.

Labor’s Sea Highway Plan will increase port capacity to allow for growth in key Tasmanian industries, drive down costs for exporters, and get the delivery of the Spirit of Tasmania replacement ships back on track.

Spirits of Tasmania

Labor will fast track the purchase of two new Bass Strait ferries. There has never been a more important time to add more capacity to Bass Strait. New ships, with greater capacity, will support the growth of businesses in the tourism sector, with associated job creation.

Burnie Port

Labor will invest $80 million to upgrade the port to accommodate larger vessels. Improve bulk storage capacity and further improve ship loading efficiency. This investment will also reduce conflict between users of the port and the increased capacity will also trigger growth and jobs in the forestry, mining and agriculture sectors.

Devonport Port

Labor will invest $60 million to enhance the Port of Devonport. This will include enhanced facilities to accommodate the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels, and the 160,000 additional passengers they will bring to the state each year. As well, berthing facilities for transport and logistics providers will be expanded, the port’s commercial fishing facilities will be enhanced, and the opportunity will be created for development of a marina and facilities for public events.

Bell Bay Port

Labor will invest $10 million in Bell Bay Port to create multiple berths for forestry and mining exports, increase the port’s fuel storage capacity and replace old fuel pipelines, and establish a new transport and wash-down system for forestry exports.

Total cost of Labor’s Sea Highway Plan over four years: $150 million

Labor’s Sea Highway Plan is part of Labor’s Plan for Jobs our fully costed plan that will deliver jobs for 35,000 Tasmanians.

Find out how Rebecca White & the Labor Team are Working for Tasmanians.