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Monday, 12 September 2011
Page: 9721

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (Braddon) (10:57): May I join with others in congratulating Sam Stosur on winning the US Open—a dream, no doubt, that Sam has had for decades and has now achieved. We are all very, very happy for her. She is a great champion.

I would like to celebrate with my community the growth of the dairy industry. In particular, about two to 2½ years ago, the dairy industry was in all sorts of strife in my region, and of course it was exasperated by terrible weather conditions which made it even more difficult for many of my farmers and their businesses. However, more recently there have been really significant recent economic development initiatives for the dairy industry in Tassie, but particularly in the north-west. Dairy is Tasmania's biggest agricultural industry, for those who do not know, and employs over 2,060 people across the state, 70 per cent of them in my electorate—in particular in the north-west. It continues to increase production output over a period when the industry elsewhere in Australia has reduced its total output. For instance, in interstate exports it is the equivalent of about $250 million towards the gross state product. Interstate exports total about $259 million and exports overseas $62.3 million, so it gives you some idea of its importance to the state.

Major investments that have been announced more recently and/or are being considered now include National Foods investing $150 million at its Burnie plant, and increases of some millions on King Island, particularly for those magnificent cheeses that we are all very aware of. Fonterra is investing $6.5 million in a gas conversion at its Spreyton plant and is undertaking a $12 million upgrade at Wynyard. Tasmanian Dairy Products are investing $60 million in a milk powder facility at Smithton, and Ashgrove Farm are undertaking a $5 million expansion at Elizabeth Town. Van Diemen's Land and its parent company, Tasman Farms Ltd, which already farms more than 19,000 hectares in the north-west, are planning to triple milk output in the next three to four years through a $180 million investment.

The industry continues to innovate through best practice technology such as fixed-time artificial insemination and enhanced milking systems and needs skilled workers to support its growth plan. I add that there is going to be a massive demand for goat's milk and goat's cheese in the region as well, so the dairy industry is doing well. It is going to do better and it requires more labour, and that is a good news story.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193, the time for member's constituency statements has concluded.