More than half of the Queensland government's million-dollar rescue package to the strawberry industry will be spent on an advertising campaign, following the needle crisis. The state government has allocated AU$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. The government did not say how the campaign would be targeted, but Agriculture Minister Mark Furner pointed to previous successful campaigns.
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. 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."
Growcom and the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association both welcomed the funding, saying it would assist growers with ongoing recovery. The discovery of needles in the fruit a fortnight ago prompted supermarkets to dump tons of strawberries. There has been has a resurgence of sales due to the well-publicised push for consumers to "cut them up, not cut them out", however.