SA Government interferes in crowded berry market

November 24, 2017

The State Government is being accused of subsidising a new hydroponic strawberry farm start up in South Australia, despite the market already being highly competitive.

The ABC reports that Berry Sensation, a sub-company of the oil and gas business Mecrus, has been awarded $2 million through the government's Future Jobs Fund for the $34.7 million project in the Wattle Range area of south-east SA.

Australian Conservatives SA MLC Robert Brokenshire said he had been approached by industry members who were concerned the new jobs would come at the expense of those in other areas of regional SA.

"The sector is saying that the government should have consulted with them to see if there were growth opportunities rather than taking away existing jobs and existing businesses," he said.

"There are hundreds of jobs in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu [Peninsula]."

"It would be very good for the south east, but what the strawberry industry is saying to me is that South Australia will see less jobs in other parts of the state."

He said existing growers also wanted more information about the planned development.

"They don't believe the government has done due diligence on this," he said.

"We'd like more detail on it because the government seemed to lack transparency."

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