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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3096


Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:46): I was very pleased on Tuesday evening this week to attend an event in Parliament House hosted by Apple and Pear Australia, where I met a number of fruit growers and industry representatives and had the opportunity to taste some delicious Australian apple and pear ciders. As the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of fruit growers in Donnybrook in the south-west of Western Australia, the sustainability of the Australian apple and pear industry is an issue close to my heart, and I know it is one that concerns many Australians who want to be sure that the fruit they buy is locally produced and fresh, particularly since we as a nation consume 264,000 tonnes, or 12 kilograms per person, of apples per annum.

I support the proposal known as the Aussie Apple Accord to promote innovation, productivity and sustainability in an industry that must now adapt to new rules allowing apple imports. There are some 950 businesses involved in the growing of apples and pears in all states of Australia, and I can state with some personal knowledge that most fruit growers are not wealthy farmers. They battle day to day to make a living and to support rural communities which, frankly, would struggle to exist without them. I certainly cannot imagine the town of Donnybrook without apples. This Easter, I will be attending the biannual Donnybrook Apple Festival and announcing this year's Apple Ambassador, a young person who will represent the apple and pear industry for the next two years, a role that I was proud to carry out myself some 27 years ago. I commend the Australian apple and pear industry's efforts to bring fresh quality produce to the Australian community and to help Australia's farmers become the world's best.