Vital info lost if centre closes
YEARS of ‘vital research’ will be lost if the NSW Government goes ahead with plans to close the Alstonville Centre for Tropical Horticulture, Ballina MP Don Page has warned.
In State Parliament this week, he called on Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan to guarantee the centre’s future.
The centre was earmarked for closure after the NSW Government’s 2008 mini-Budget.
“In the follow-up to that devastating announcement, I lodged a petition containing over 1000 signatures supporting theretention of this important research centre,” Mr Page said.
“Tropical horticulture is the largest agricultural industry on the North Coast, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars each year to our economy.
“The local industry deserves some assurance that the vital research facility will not be lost.”
A spokesperson for Industry and Investment NSW said it was ‘business as usual’ for now.
“The NSW Government announced in July 2009 that research carried out by staff at the NSW Centre for Tropical Horticulture at Alstonville will continue,” the spokesperson said.
“Staff will eventually relocate to Wollongbar ... staff will have ongoing access to macadamia and sub-tropical fruit plantings at the Alstonville site.
“Industry and Investment NSW is continuing its discussions with Southern Cross University about the logistics and transition process to eventually relocate.”