The Tasmanian brand is more significant for dairy producers than regional or company brands and should be used more widely, a Legislative Council inquiry investigating branding Tasmania’s dairy industry has been told.
The inquiry also heard that lack of a certified logo or stamp to guarantee place of origin was holding back investment.
“Everyone knows Tasmania, the brand of Tasmania has more recognition globally,” Legerwood dairy farmer John Williams said.
Former Tasmanian Brand Council member, Kim Seagram, told the inquiry a powerful Tasmanian dairy brand could lead to new opportunities.
Ms Seagram said: "The Tasmanian brand has never been stronger.”
But the Managing Director of Tasmania Invest, Sarah Hirst, told a later hearing that she had two clients who wanted to invest $800 million to process milk sourced from Tasmanian dairy farms.
She said they were being held back by the lack of a certified Tasmanian dairy brand.
"We don’t have a logo or a stamp that guarantees [the product is] Tasmanian,” Ms Hirst said.
Tasmania Invest has asked for State funding to develop a certification scheme for Tasmanian products, similar to 100 per cent Pure NZ.
“The scheme would be self funding," Ms Hirst said. "Producers have indicated they would be willing to pay”.
The Executive Director of Brand Tasmania, Robert Heazlewood, said: “It’s a good thing and it should happen, but the truth is it’s already under consideration. We are already researching the value and cost benefit of a Tasmanian trademark and a certified mark.”
He said Brand Tasmania had been speaking with copyright and trademark lawyers for more than a year. It would take another year to introduce certification if it was approved.
The Chairman of the committee, Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall said Ms Hirst’s submission had been impressive.
“A clean, sustainable brand [for Tasmania] has some merit,” Mr Hall said.
The inquiry heard discussion about regional brands, such as Duck River, and their effectiveness in international markets.
“The Tasmanian brand as a whole is much more significant than these regional ones,” Andrew Lester of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association said.
The dairy inquiry held public hearings in Launceston and Burnie during February and March and plans to present its findings in the spring session of state parliament.