Mid-year release for Vic and Qld National Netting Programme guidelines.Industry Advocacy
With the Federal Government’s $24 million National Netting Programme moving into its second year, South Australia remains the only state to have announced guidelines that allow growers to apply for grants under the programme.
The programme’s roll out in the remaining states has been impacted by bushfires, drought and Covid-19 and APAL’s Head of Advocacy, Jeremy Griffith remains confident the roll out will pick up pace as these events settle.
The Victorian and Queensland governments are expected to release their state guidelines towards the middle of the year – once harvest is largely complete. WA and NSW are yet to confirm timelines for the release of their state guidelines. A total of $4 million is earmarked for Victoria and $1.5 million for Queensland.
SA rollout continues
Since launching the SA guidelines in late 2019 that followed severe hailstorms, SA producers have accessed just over $6 million of the available funding. Just over half ($3.12 million) has been taken up by producers in the Adelaide Hills and Greater Adelaide area. The balance has been taken up by producers in the Riverland.
The SA program has provided matching funding of up to $300,000 for costs associated with horticulture netting.
Susie Green, CEO of Apple & Pear Growers Association of South Australia said the roll out of the SA program would provide some valuable lessons for policy makers and growers in other states.
“By the end of this programme, we are estimating the area (hectares) of apple and pears under netting in the Adelaide Hills could increase from around 20% to around 40% of planted area but growers are prioritising netting for their more profitable blocks so the proportion of total production under netting will be higher, ” said Susie.
Susie believes the program has been a catalyst for fast tracking growers’ plans to install netting.
“In some cases, growers have accelerated existing orchard improvement plans, for others the funding has allowed them to expand the area they can bring under netting.