Under the new Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Comprehensive Economic Development Agreement, $15 million will be dedicated to export trade, strategic sector development, entrepreneurship, community economic development and technology.
An additional $7 million will be allocated under the Provinces own Strategic Enterprise Development Fund to support business opportunities in strategic growth sectors.
To ensure successful business and regional development, our human resources must also receive strategic investments. Through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement, in excess of $100 million will be invested this year. This will ensure that human resource and employment development efforts will be linked with strategic development opportunities in all areas of the Province.
Government will focus on emerging growth sectors of the economy, including aquaculture, information technology, biotechnology, adventure tourism, telefilm, and small-scale manufacturing.
Mr. Speaker, 18 of the 20 Regional Economic Development Boards have developed their strategic economic plans.The Cabinet Committee on Rural Revitalization has met with 17 of them to determine the top five development priorities in each zone and work on real opportunities for growth.
These have included: snowmobile trails on the Northern Peninsula to extend the tourism season; a rural information technology Centre of Excellence in Clarenville; eel aquaculture in Robinsons; pharmaceutical applications for seaweed in Ile-aux-Morts; small-scale manufacturing in Bishops Falls; technology applications for mining in Labrador West; and, trade opportunities at Gander International Airport.
Mr. Speaker, Government is acting on its commitment to rural revitalization, providing opportunities for people in rural communities.
The federal government has announced that The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy will end in August. The federal government undertook this program because it was responsible for the collapse of groundfish stocks. These stocks have not yet recovered. The need and responsibility for a replacement program for TAGS is clear. We will continue to press the federal government, once again, to accept its responsibility and institute quickly an appropriate replacement program for TAGS.
Components of this replacement program should include early retirement, license buy-outs to reduce capacity in the harvesting sector, income replacement support, labour market adjustment measures, and economic diversification.
A replacement program is crucial for rural communities adjusting to the economic realities of the groundfish collapse.
Fisheries & Aquaculture
Mr. Speaker, this Government has placed special emphasis on fisheries diversification, value-added initiatives, aquaculture development and quality assurance. In 1997, the value of fish products was $575 million, driven by a healthy shellfish sector. Ten thousand people were employed in harvesting; another ten thousand worked in processing.
This past year has seen the opening of the inshore-based northern shrimp fishery, a resource which has helped many of our communities severely impacted by the groundfish collapse. Government has been firm in discussions with the federal government that priority access to any further quota increases of northern shrimp off our coasts must be allocated to adjacent inshore harvesters. This new inshore fishery has the potential to generate in excess of $100 million annually.
This year, Government will invest $400,000 in new fisheries, with an emphasis on the commercialization of underutilized species. We will also invest in a new market promotion program.
For the first time in Newfoundland and Labradors history and, indeed, Canadas, a new partnership model will be used to reach agreements on fish prices without the use of strikes or lockouts. Government will assist by providing $150,000 to implement recommendations of the Task Force on Crab/Fish Price Settlement Mechanisms.
The aquaculture industry is positioned to expand significantly over the next several years. Production is projected to increase from 1,600 metric tonnes in 1997 to approximately 3,000 tonnes in 1998. By the year 2000, aquacultures export value could reach $40 million and provide employment for 900 people in rural areas of our province.
This year, Government will invest $10 million in developing our aquaculture industry, including $9.5 million through the Economic Renewal Agreement. This will support industry-related research and development by completing the Aquaculture Research Facility at the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay and the Aquaculture Resource Centre in Bay D'Espoir.
A more sustainable, more diversified fishery is emerging. Government remains firmly committed to the revitalization of the fishing industry. The fishery will always play a critical role in the economy of our Province, especially in our rural communities.
Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to make investments in the growth of our forest industry. We are, therefore, pleased to announce an additional $500,000 for forest access roads, for a total of $2 million to be invested this year. These investments will provide jobs both in construction and sawmilling.
Silviculture will proceed on 11,400 hectares of land in the form of planting, thinnings, and site reclamation. In partnership with the federal government and industry, we will protect these investments in silviculture with $10-15 million in insect control programs.
Tourism offers new potential for prosperity. Through the Economic Renewal Agreement, we will invest $3.7 million this year on marketing and developing tourism infrastructure.
The Cabot 500 Year was a landmark for our tourism industry. Non-resident visitors increased by 22 % for a gain of nearly 69,000 tourists. Convention activity in the St. Johns area was up by 220 %. We will build confidently on this success. This year, $1.5 million is being allocated to plan new events for 1999 and 2000.
Soiree 99 is an invitation to our fellow Canadians and the world to celebrate Newfoundland and Labradors first 50 years in Confederation, and our deep and lasting loyalty to this great country.
Soiree 99 will coincide with the 1999 Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. In preparation for the Games, an additional $445,000 will support lasting improvements to the Stephenville Training Centre and the Arts and Culture Pool in Corner Brook.
The Viking 2000 Celebrations will showcase early Norse settlers to our shores and their settlement at LAnse Aux Meadows, the only authentic Norse site in North America.
Government will also dedicate $600,000 to the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador so that it can continue its good work throughout this Province.
Art Procurement Program
In support of our artists, Government will provide again this year an additional allocation of $100,000 for the Art Procurement Program announced last year. Mr. Speaker, this brings the total allocation to $200,000.
Information technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador today. Softworld is the information technology sectors premiere event of the year, showcasing companies from around the world. This year, Newfoundland and Labrador will host 750 senior executives at Softworld 98 in St. Johns. It promises to be the most successful Softworld ever.
Working with the Scottish Software Federation, our local companies will promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a Gateway to Europe in the North American marketplace. Government is working with our industry leaders to maximize trade and partnering opportunities for local companies.
Film Tax Credit
Last year, Government targeted the television and film industry as a new opportunity for economic growth with the establishment of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation. This is a highly competitive business, both nationally and internationally. Other jurisdictions have effectively utilized their tax systems to stimulate economic and employment growth in this field.
Government believes the tax system can be structured to stimulate the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. After consultation with the Film Development Corporation and industry, the Government will, this year, move quickly to implement a competitive film tax credit in this Province.
Main Page Contents Previous Next