Irrigation unlocking opportunities in Tasmania

Government investment in Tasmanian irrigation is creating economic growth and new job opportunities across the state.

Reid Fruits at Jericho is one of the local businesses benefiting from increased irrigation investment, using an investment of $1.13 million to expand its orchards and employ an additional 30 people.

Reid Fruits will soon begin planting its first cherry trees at Honeywood Orchard in the Southern Midlands, which is traditionally dry grazing land.

Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said having 95 per cent reliable water available through Tasmanian Irrigation schemes was unlocking new opportunities.

“Generations before would never have believed that we could turn this grazing land into a cherry orchard, yet that’s what’s being achieved through irrigation,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Reid Fruits investment and expansion will create 30 full-time-equivalent positions when it’s operational and as many as 200 positions in the peak of the picking season.

“The unique elevation of the site will also extend harvest time beyond that at any other orchard, allowing Reid Fruits to tap into the lucrative Chinese New Year market unlike ever before.

“We look forward to seeing other agricultural projects expand just like Reid Fruits as we progress the five Tranche 2 Schemes, made possible with $60 million from the Federal Liberal Government and $30 million from the Hodgman Liberal Government, and investment from farmers.

“It is our vision to grow the farm gate value of Tasmania’s agricultural industries to $10 billion a year by 2050, and investment in irrigation will ensure we can realise this growth.”

Tasmanian Federal Liberal Member for Lyons Eric Hutchinson said it was great to see investment in irrigation and innovation assisting in Reid Fruits’ success story.

“Reid Fruits received $1.13 million from the Federal Government’s Innovation and Investment Fund in 2015 to create Honeywood Orchard and a $4.5 million retractable greenhouse,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“This is a great example of the innovation that drives jobs and growth across Australia.

“This greenhouse is the first of its kind in Australia, and will allow about four hectares of the total 30 hectares of cherry trees to be planted at Honeywood to be protected come rain, hail or shine.

“This will boost yield, and increase Reid Fruits’ export capabilities, especially to China and Korea, where our Free Trade Agreement has unlocked greater opportunities for primary producers like the Reids.

“It’s clear that the water provided through our investment in irrigation is transforming not just our landscape, but also our agricultural sector’s capacity to grow, invest and create jobs.”

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