The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Farmers given a raw
trade deal, says Crean

by Cameron Outridge

Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean was in Longman recently pointing out how local farmers and their industry could be getting the rough end of the pineapple following uncertainty surrounding Australia’s new free trade agreement in Thailand.

Mr Crean joined Labor’s Federal spokesman Stephen Beckett and State Member for Glasshouse Carolyn Male in meeting senior representatives from Golden Circle.   “We’ve got to make sure the industry doesn’t get the rough end of the pineapple,” Mr Crean said after meeting grower representatives about tariffs and proposed changes to the fumigation of imported fruit.

Mr Crean was told the local industry was facing uncertainty because of the free trade agreement with Thailand due to begin in 2005.   “The details of that have not been made available to us,” the chairman of Queensland’s Golden Circle cannery Michael Cruice advised the Labor Leader.

In 2001 Australia imposed anti-dumping tariffs on pineapples imported from Thailand after Golden Circle was able to prove that Thailand was “dumping” pineapples on the Australian market for less than they cost to produce.  Mr Cruice told reporters that the Australian pineapple growing industry was worth more than $40 million a year to farmers and that Golden Circle’s operations amounted to a figure closer to $400 million a year.

Mr Crean said he would be asking questions of the Prime Minister about tariffs and the manner in which imported pineapples were fumigated to stop disease.

Carolyn Male, Stephen Beckett and Simon Crean during Mr Crean’s visit to the hinterland.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.