LETTER: Challenges for citrus growers

Citrus Australia looks forward to working with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on water, ­labour hire and biosecurity.

Government support will be crucial to help growers navigate the increasingly complex environment surrounding labour hire and water trade.

Additional investment in border biosecurity, including Customs ­officers and sniffer dogs, is necessary to protect the burgeoning ­citrus industry.

The citrus industry contributed more than $800 million to GDP through farm gate sales in 2018, including $480 million in citrus ­exports.

It is a major employer in regional and rural Australia, with an ­estimated 25,000 people employed in citrus production and more ­employed in allied businesses.

Citrus Australia will ask the Federal Government to support a ­review of the river system to ensure supply for current and future horti­culture development can be adequately met.

Irrigation practices in the Aust­ralian citrus industry continue to evolve through the adoption of new technologies and citrus growers will continue to invest in water-saving efficiency measures.

However, growers expect surety of supply. The system is physically unable to deliver quantities of ­water required in some areas.

Therefore, we ask for a review, with forward planning and an ­assessment of capacity for the river system, to meet the needs of current and future development.

We urge the government to ­enforce the laws of water use to ­ensure growers in southern Aust­ralia are not disadvantaged.

Also, people employed in the citrus industry have the right to a safe work environment and are entitled to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

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