The NSW Government has agreed to consult with industry and the community to come up with further solutions for the Department of Primary Industries’ sub-tropical horticulture research.

It follows a meeting in Sydney today between the Minister, Ian Macdonald, and representatives from the Australian Macadamia Society and Bananas NSW.

The meeting followed last month’s mini-budget announcement that research centres around the State, including one at Alstonville, could be closed.

“A number of ideas and options were brought forward today by key stakeholders about the future of the DPI research into sub-tropical horticulture,” Minister Macdonald said.

“We are keen to find solutions, but the Government is under enormous economic pressure, so it’s important that everyone works together to find a financially viable solution.

“A steering committee will be established to represent the sub-tropical horticulture industry, which includes the macadamia and banana industries.

“The committee will look at the possibility of further cross-industry investment.

“The national banana industry has recently introduced a levy that will go towards supporting research and development, so the steering committee will also look at similar options relating to industry investment.”

The committee will include:

  • Mr Jolyon Burnett, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Macadamia Society Ltd;
  • Mr Bob Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Bananas NSW;
  • Mr Stephen Williams, Director Research and Commercialisation, Southern Cross University; and
  • Representatives from the Department of Primary Industries.

The committee has a deadline of March 31 next year to come up with proposals.