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Strawberry industry support

We are working with the Queensland strawberry industry to support growers through the strawberry tampering incident.

Health alert for strawberries

New federal export notice for strawberry exports

Queensland Government industry support package

The Queensland Government is funding a $1 million support package to boost the strawberry industry following incidents of tampering.

The funding will be allocated as follows:

  • $600,000 to restore consumer confidence in strawberries through a targeted campaign
  • $250,000 for safeguarding supply chain integrity
  • $150,000 for the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to assist growers with the ongoing response and recovery.

The rollout of the funding package is being coordinated with the strawberry industry.

A Back to Market Strawberry Working Group has also been established.

Support services available to the industry

These services are provided by the Queensland and Federal governments, and non-government agencies.

Financial assistance

Low interest loans

Sustainability loans under the Productivity Scheme are available at low interest rates to support Queensland strawberry growers invest in additional on-farm quality assurance equipment and other food safety measures to protect the longer-term viability of their primary production business.

Such investments could include metal detection or other scanning equipment and upgrades to packing sheds and related facilities. These concessional loans are also available for growers who might also be seeking to diversify into other crops and need to invest in water, energy or other farm-related infrastructure.

QRIDA staff are available to visit on-farm to discuss available assistance.

  • Contact: Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA)
  • Phone: 1800 623 946
  • Website: qrida.qld.gov.au

Farm investment loans (Regional Investment Corporation)

These loans of up to $2 million are available for farm business owners who can demonstrate they are, or will be, in financial hardship for the next two years, and the farm business owner must trade interstate or internationally. The loans can be used to refinance your debt, enhance your productivity, or pay for operating expenses or capital. The loan period is up to 10 years, with the first 5 years interest only.

  • Contact: Regional Investment Corporation
  • Phone: 1800 875 675
  • Website: ric.gov.au

Farm Household Allowance

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) are available to help farming families in tough times to put food on the table. Producers that are interested in accessing the Farm Household Allowance are encouraged to seek guidance from a rural financial counsellor.

  • Contact: Rural Financial Counselling Service
  • Phone: 07 4622 5500
  • Website: rfcssq.org.au

Farm debt restructuring

Queensland strawberry growers facing significant financial distress can contact QRIDA to seek assistance in relation to debt restructuring. This assistance is free and available through the Farm Debt Restructure Office, and provides eligible farmers with detailed options on debt restructuring from an approved, independent rural finance professional.

  • Contact: Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA)
  • Phone: 0400 228 677
  • Website: qrida.qld.gov.au

Banking assistance

Australian Banking Association member banks offer a range of services to help customers experiencing circumstances outside their control. The type of assistance offered will depend on individual circumstances, but may include a deferral of scheduled loan repayments, waiving fees and charges, interest free periods or no interest rate increases, or debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable. Contact your local bank to access hardship assistance.

Small business support and grants

To access a range of programs, information and tools tailored to support small businesses, contact the Queensland Governments’ Office of Small Business.

Financial support

Rural Financial Counselling Service

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides free financial advice to producers who are suffering financial hardship and have no alternative sources of impartial financial information. The service is funded by grants from government to local organisations that employ financial counsellors.

  • Contact: Rural Financial Counselling Service
  • Phone: 07 4622 5500
  • Website: rfcssq.org.au

Workforce services

Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network

For support in addressing concerns with your workforce contact the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network. Agriculture Workforce Officers engage with a wide range of employment and training stakeholders across Queensland and can provide practical guidance and link you to relevant service providers.

Additional services

  • Australian Government Job Services Australia 1800 805 260
  • Centrelink:
    • Employment Service and Job Network 13 28 50
    • Family Assistance Office 13 61 50

Wellbeing support

Anyone who is experiencing personal crisis, or friends or family who are concerned for a loved one can call the following services for assistance and counselling:

  • Australian Red Cross on 1300 554 419
  • 24/7 Lifeline Crisis support line on 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue Information Line on 1300 224 636

The Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors can also provide advice on additional services and non-government organisations, including a network of Neighbourhood Centres and Community Support Services across the state, available to help affected individuals, families and communities. Contact 13 QGOV (13 74 68), communities.qld.gov.au

Police assistance

Anyone who locates strawberries containing the needles is asked to contact Policelink for further advice on 131 444.

A $100,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the current strawberry tampering incident.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Further information

For further information on support available, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.