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Coalition sweetener for NW

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Nick ButterlyThe West Australian
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WA could be an unexpected beneficiary of the nation's chocolate cravings, with Tony Abbott pledging cash for a trial to grow cocoa trees in the Ord River to feed Cadbury's plant in Tasmania.

Mr Abbott pledged $16 million to help upgrade the Cadbury plant in Hobart as part of efforts to boost tourism and employment in the Apple Isle.

Part of the funding will go to a trial to grow cocoa trees in northern WA. Currently, all cocoa for the Hobart Cadbury plant comes from Ghana.

The coalition did not say how much of the $16 million in funds would go to the Ord river trial.

Cocoa is not commercially cultivated in Australia but it is successfully grown in Indonesia and Malaysia.

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During campaigning two weeks ago, Kevin Rudd committed to stage three of the Ord River irrigation project, setting aside money for a local indigenous group to help settle native title claims.

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