Premium Fresh Tasmania Fri 31 August 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Economic Development Sid Sidebottom Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry The Minister for Economic Development, David O'Byrne, said the Tasmanian Government has been working closely with the Federal Labor Government, through local Parliamentary Secretary Sid Sidebottom, to help Premium Fresh Tasmania through the company's current difficulties. Mr O'Byrne said the Government had been aware of the challenges facing Premium Fresh including a below average growing season last year, and fierce competition between the major supermarket chains in fresh vegetable produce. "PFT has grown from a small farming enterprise to one of the largest carrot washing, grading and packing facilities in the country," he said. "The factory covers over 5,000 square metres, using the latest technology to pack around 45 000 tonnes of produce including carrots, onions, swedes, turnips, and specialty vegetables every year. "It's disappointing that, despite the best efforts of the company to deal with its challenges, a voluntary administrator has been appointed." Mr O'Byrne said both Tasmanian and Federal Governments had been highly supportive of Premium Fresh Tasmania. "Both the State and Australian governments have been closely monitoring the situation and committed to providing a joint assistance package of $750,000 to support Premium Fresh during the period of administration," Mr Sidebottom said. "However, we are pleased Premium Fresh now has the opportunity to continue to trade with the support of its customers, suppliers and creditors," Mr Sidebottom said. Mr O'Byrne said that departmental staff will meet with the administrator in the immediate future to obtain a briefing on the proposed path forward and will maintain close contact during the period of administration.