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Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Page: 5105


Mrs MOYLAN (7:18 PM) —It was a great pleasure to attend the 2008 Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation—hereafter I will refer to them as RIRDC; it sounds rural—Rural Women’s Awards at a dinner in Parliament House recently. From the outset I acknowledge and warmly congratulate my Senate colleague the Hon. Judith Troeth, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, for having the foresight to initiate this award. Senator Troeth has always been a great advocate for women, and this is a great legacy of her efforts to highlight the achievements of rural women.

On this occasion I speak of the remarkable achievement of the runner-up of this year’s RIRDC award, Mrs Maggie Edmonds, who comes from Gingin, north of my electorate. In fact, I am told that Gingin is the only town in Australia to have had two women recipients of this national award. Mrs Edmonds is a local Gingin olive, passionfruit and protea flower grower and received her award at a gala dinner held here in Parliament House. I have known Mrs Edmonds for some years as an enormously energetic woman of considerable talent. Her passion for promoting not just her own produce but that of others in the region has become the stuff of legend. She displays those great rural qualities of innovation and thoughtfulness towards others.

Mrs Edmonds’s contributions have been wide ranging—too numerous to list here—but in the case of olives she was instrumental in thrusting the product into the state spotlight. She was a founding member of the Gingin Region Olive Growers, which later became the Moore River Olive Association, and she was instrumental in initiating an olive festival which was held in Gingin for two years and then celebrated in the nearby Swan Valley.

Mrs Edmonds has many passions. One is growing flowers, and what she hopes to do with her $10,000 bursary award from RIRDC is to help other women to do what she has done—that is, take the next marketing steps with their product. She has set up a website—www.tastewa.com.au—designed for produce growers to network. It is her first project, and Mrs Edmonds hopes to follow this up in one or two years with a retail and information outlet based in the Swan Valley.

Mrs Edmonds is the second RIRDC rural women’s award winner from Gingin. In 2005, Mrs Maureen Dobra from the Loose Leaf Lettuce Company was the Western Australian winner. I am excited about the new projects that Mrs Edmonds will promote in Pearce and I thank and commend her and indeed all the other women involved in the rural industry across Australia. At a time when world leaders ponder issues of food security and much of the talk with regard to Australian agriculture is focused on water and trade reforms, it is a time to celebrate the extraordinary people behind business—in this case, these women and their role in assisting such a vital industry.