Page gives assurance on Alstonville Centre for Tropical Horticulture

Member for Ballina and Minister for the North Coast Don Page has allayed any concerns about the possible closure of the Alstonville Centre for Tropical Horticulture.

“The Alstonville site will be retained and staff will continue to have access to the various tropical fruit plantings for research purposes. The important research work will continue as normal,” he said.

“However, the staff currently working at the Alstonville Research Station will be moving at the end of July, from the demountable buildings on the Alstonville site to the Wollongbar Agricultural Institute.

“While the facilities at the Alstonville site consist of demountable buildings, the facilities at Wollongbar include state-of-the-art laboratories which will provide a more comfortable office environment for staff.
“The new Wollongbar location for staff is only five minutes down the road from the current Alstonville Centre. The advantages of the more modern facilities make the move worthwhile.”

Mr Page said the former Labor Minister for Primary Industries had announced in November 2008 that the NSW Centre for Tropical Horticulture at Alstonville would close.

“The new Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, is committed to retaining the Alstonville site. However, the planned move for the staff was already well under way by the time we won Government and it is hoped that the Wollongbar facilities will be more comfortable for the Alstonville research staff,” Mr Page said.

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government recognises the importance of the horticultural industry to the North Coast. The NSW Government is committed to maintaining a significant Primary Industries presence on the North Coast and to continuing the important research work that is currently being undertaken at the Alstonville Research site.

“Collectively, the horticultural industry has a farm-gate value in excess of $270 million and is a key to supporting the economies of many North Coast regions.

“That is why the Alstonville site will be retained.”

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