Australia: New flower, foliage technology helps support regional jobs

A Sunshine Coast flower and foliage company is making the most of new propagation technology while supporting regional jobs through grant funding from the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Cedar Hill Flowers and Foliage was one of 15 businesses in Queensland to receive a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant to help fund the expansion of their business and create job growth in regional areas.

“Cedar Hill Flowers and Foliage is a major researcher and primary producer of Australian native flowers and foliage,” Mr Furner said.

“With support from a grant of more than $75,000, plans are in place to install automated propagation facilities, capable of moving the business from traditional greenhouse production.

“The project is expected to create 10 full time jobs, including plant propagators, tube stock potters and tubs stock packers, and additional indirect fulltime roles.”

The funding will be used to install remote irrigation controls, climate control including humidity, radiation and temperature and extensions to infrastructure.

General Manager James Roemermann said it was expected to allow for an estimated increase of 25 per cent in overall production.

“Providing optimal growing conditions for young ornamental horticulture and floriculture plants will result in increased growth rates and improved plant health and yields,” Mr Roemermann said.

“This will reduce the instances of pest and disease infestation resulting in a reduction in the use of chemicals.

“By increasing greenhouse productivity through the utilisation of cutting edge technology it is expected employment opportunities at both ends of the production cycle will be created.”

The Rural Economic Development Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The $10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.

A total of 15 businesses have received $3.3 million under the first-round of funding for the RED Grants program. Overall these 15 projects are expected to create over 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.

Funding for Round 2 of the RED Grants will be announced later this year.

The recent State Budget locked in funding for the remaining rounds of the program, taking the total amount of grants available up to $10 million.

“This program represents the Palaszczuk Government investing in regional jobs now and for the future,” Mr Furner said.

“By supporting regional businesses today we are helping them expand and grow our economy for the future.”

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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