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Minister will stick with food stickers
The West Australian

The Barnett Government will today announce continued funding for its Buy West Eat Best program with an election pledge to fund it for at least the next two years. This is despite fierce criticism of the scheme by food industry leaders.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said it was another plank in the development of a range of much larger food tourism strategies for WA.

Dr Hames said the scheme, which uses the Buy West Eat Best logo, allows "Western Australian consumers to choose food grown, fished and farmed by local producers".

He shrugged off claims that the proposed $175,000 a year funding is too little.

"It's about getting people involved and that sort of marketing doesn't need to cost a lot of money to be effective," Dr Hames said. "We have already signed up about 90 producers and 24 retailers."

The Department of Agriculture and Food, which runs the scheme, claims that "eight out of 10 consumers recognise what the Buy West Eat Best logo stands for".

But prominent WA veal producer and butcher Vince Garreffa said it does not work.

"It's like the Heart Foundation tick," he said. "It starts off well but just ends up being for sale.

"I don't think it changes personal buying habits. Too many people still buy on price."

Mr Garreffa says the stickers are everywhere and they are too easy to use by those who want to take advantage of the Buy West message.

Jus Burgers owner Justin Bell, whose shops have been a part of the scheme since its inception five years ago, said the sticker "does some good". "I don't know how much the public know about it, but when they see the sticker, they respond," he said. "If given the choice, people will buy locally, so it's good for business."

Jus Burgers sources about 95 per cent of its goods from WA. Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said he was proud to be part of the government that created the scheme.