Media release – Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, 5 May 2020

Building on Tasmania’s agricultural strengths

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Tasmanian economy and has a key role to play in our plan to rebuild a stronger Tasmania.

As part of our commitment to supporting farmers and food producers, the Tasmanian Government has developed a road map which outlines our long-term plan to focus on better research, more value adding, being more responsive to change and greater collaboration with producers.

This White Paper on the Competitiveness of Tasmanian Agriculture for 2050 provides and overarching framework for Government as we grow the annual value of Tasmania’s agriculture sector to $10 billion by 2050.

Agriculture has never been more important – it puts food on our tables, it provides thousands of jobs and it supports our rural and regional communities, which is why the Tasmanian Liberal Government is working to secure its long-term future.

Tasmania has a remarkable opportunity to leverage our strengths in agriculture – rich soil, a favourable climate, water infrastructure, enterprising farmers and a premium brand – to significantly expand our agricultural industries and food manufacturing capacity. To do so, the agri-food sector must pursue opportunities and address challenges impacting on competitiveness.

The White Paper has been developed in consultation with agribusiness, industry groups, research bodies and other enterprises to address issues affecting production, investment and profitability of Tasmanian farmers and agribusinesses.

It was compiled following extensive consultation with stakeholders interested in the sustainable growth of the agri-food sector, a preliminary discussion paper and a survey that sought public comment.

The White Paper identifies three emerging priority areas for the competitiveness of the State’s land-based agricultural sector – Circular Economy and Value Adding; Digital Transformation; and being Responsive to Change.

It also reaffirms our existing policy focus areas in Research and Innovation; Smarter Regulation; Investing in People; Managing Risk and Biosecurity; Harnessing Natural Capital; Capitalising on our Brand; and Climate-Ready Agriculture.

In the short-term, the Tasmanian Government is working with the agricultural community and businesses to respond to the immediate challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the long term, the White Paper sets a framework for the Government to work with the agricultural sector to build on the State’s strengths, manage risks and respond to significant disruptions and change.

Agriculture remains a cornerstone of Tasmania’s economy, supporting regional and rural jobs and generating $1.6 billion at the farm gate in 2017-18. Tasmania also contributes to national food security with the majority of our food sold into domestic markets.

The Competitiveness White Paper sits under the $150 million Tasmanian Sustainable Agri-food Plan 2019-23, which aims to grow the annual value of Tasmania’s agriculture sector to $10 billion by 2050.

To read the White Paper, see here.