Years of lobbying by the community and the Liberal Party for an investment in an Almond Centre of Excellence in South Australia have paid off, with $4m in State Government funding for the major project announced today.
Tim Whetstone, Member for Chaffey welcomed the announcement that an $11m Almond Centre of Excellence will be established in the Riverland.
Mr Whetstone has spent months meeting with Ministers and industry stakeholders urging the State Government to invest in the Centre of Excellence as a once in a generation opportunity.
In October last year, Mr Whetstone urged the State Government to invest in the proposal and not to risk losing the centre to Victoria who were also being considered for the development:
‘The opportunity to have a world class research and development facility in our own backyard must not be lost interstate and I urge the Weatherill Labor Government to commit funding to the project,’ Mr Whetstone said.
With the almond industry enjoying solid returns and positive growth, Mr Whetstone said the Centre of Excellence will attract researchers from across the world.
“With a number of properties taken out of production during drought, the Centre of Excellence may be able to assist in diversifying industries in the region,” Mr Whetstone said
“Not only will this project create much needed jobs but it will be a worldwide base for new variety trials and for collaboration.
“Almonds are a major contributor to Australia’s exports, with sales exceeding $300 million last year.
“Given growth in consumption of almonds in export destinations in the past 12 months, the Almond Centre of Excellence will assist South Australia to become a world leader in the industry.”
Mr Whetstone said the Riverland-based facility is a big win for the community and will assist future generations of almond growers across South Australia into the future.