The State Government has waived a $1.3 million debt by one of the state’s largest apple packing and storage facilities, Lenswood Cold Stores Co-Operative Society so it can continue to support Adelaide Hills apple and pear producers.
Lenswood loans under the Loans to Cooperatives Scheme totalling $1.3 million have been waived following a third consecutive year of adverse weather events impacting the industry.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the State Government had approved the debt write-off of the $1.3 million loan to support the important packing facility for Adelaide Hills apple and pear producers.
“The State Government recognises the hardship the apple and pear industry is facing after consecutive seasons impacted by hail and as a result has agreed to approve the $1.3 million debt waiver for Lenswood,” said Minister Whetstone.
“This will facilitate Lenswood having a better structured finance model which will help it maintain its day-to-day business.
“The industry has reiterated the need to support Lenswood and this government has taken action to waive the co-op’s loan and in turn support it to continue providing a valuable service to industry.
“It is important consumers support local growers during this challenging time by buying apples, pears and cherries despite blemishes and choose local fruit and fruit juices wherever possible.”
Lenswood Cold Stores Co-Operative is one of the largest apple packing and storing facilities in South Australia, packing and marketing approximately 60 per cent of apples from growers in Adelaide Hills, Riverland and South East.
In addition to the Lenswood support, the State Government recently appointed a dedicated Family and Business Support (FaB) Program mentor, Colleen White, connect affected Adelaide Hills’ growers to suitable mental health, wellbeing and financial assistance services.
Minister Whetstone, Member for Morialta Hon John Gardner MP and Member for Kavel Dan Cregan MP held an industry meeting for affected Adelaide Hills’ growers and communities at Lenswood earlier this month, and was attended by around 70 growers and industry stakeholders.