Bulk of Qld strawberry rescue fund goes to ad campaign

The Queensland government will $600000 on an awareness campaign for the strawberry industry.
The Queensland government will $600000 on an awareness campaign for the strawberry industry.

More than half of the Queensland government's million-dollar rescue package to the strawberry industry in the wake of the needle crisis will be spent on an awareness campaign.

The state government has allocated $1 million towards responding to the crisis, and on Wednesday revealed $600,000 of that money would be spent on a "targeted campaign" while $250,000 has been allocated for safeguarding supply chain integrity.

Meanwhile $150,000 will be given to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to allocate to producers affected by the crisis.

State Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said their allocation of funding was similar to other agricultural issues in the past.

"When White Spot Disease hit our prawn industry in South-East Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government responded immediately by investing in a highly successful media campaign to get people eating seafood again with Brisbane Broncos legend Sam Thaiday," Mr Furner said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander was disappointed more money wasn't being made available directly to strawberry farmers.

"I think there needs to be some sort of investment towards promoting the industry, there's no doubt about that," Mr Mander said.

"But I think also that funding should be available directly to these farmers whose lives have been devastated and have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The current crisis gripping the strawberry industry, after several needles were found in the fruit at multiple locations, has been well-documented through the media.

Both Mr Furner and Mr Mander attended a special event in Brisbane's King George Square on Wednesday, where the famous Ekka strawberry sundaes were being sold for the first time outside of the annual show.

Thousands of sundaes had already been sold by 9am, with organisers well on track to sell 10,000, with all proceeds to go to strawberry farmers.

Australian Associated Press