GrowSmart Training, the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) within the Riverland Horticultural Council was rocked by Minister Gago’s recent announcement of the sudden and substantial withdrawal of a wide range of training subsidies. The organisation has earned its reputation for development and delivery of high quality, competitive and relevant training programs over 15 years. It’s a small, not for profit organisation, set up by the horticultural industry to provide essential training for the industry that underpins the regional economy, horticulture. It has consistently punched above its weight.
Riverland Wine, a long term supporter and sponsor of GrowSmart, was encouraged just six months ago when the Manager Trevor Noble, negotiated with PIRSA to relocate the operation to Loxton as part of the redevelopment of the Research Centre.
Chris Byrne, executive officer for Riverland Wine, expressed dismay saying “This is a huge blow to the region’s horticulture and land management training programs. Our reason for sponsoring GrowSmart over the years has arisen from a realisation that to be globally competitive and to meet the high production standards demanded by international customers, our members need access to the outstanding services offered by GrowSmart. Ironically, we share the State Government’s ambition for the Riverland to be recognised for its Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment. This announcement from left field seems to contradict that sentiment. We were not consulted; not that the government is obliged to include us in their planning. Nevertheless, we will work with Trevor to see what can be salvaged through sensible talking and hopefully a review of the rationale”.
To lose this organisation from our midst, especially as the Loxton redevelopment proceeds to improve services to industry would be a great loss to the region. It behoves all industry bodies to rally in support of GrowSmart at this time.