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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1885

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (BraddonParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (12:18): Good afternoon, colleagues, on this very historic day. This is the first sitting of the Federation Chamber, and here we are, so we will be part of history again.

I have spend the last three days with my minister, Joe Ludwig, and my colleagues the member for Lyons, Dick Adams, and the member for Bass, Geoff Lyons. We spent three days on the road celebrating the Australian Year of the Farmer. This is part of our ongoing commitment to honouring and celebrating agriculture in particular in Tassie. As you know, Tassie is a crucible for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Australia.

We visited sawmillers in Dunalley, we went to Tasmanian Gourmet Potatoes and we also went to Tas Alkaloids—a massive alkaloids processing facility that is the largest producer of thebaine in the world. We visited the headquarters of the Road Dam Irrigation Scheme in the north-east of Tassie. There are some really interesting prospects there, particularly the expansion of dairying, and also—interestingly enough, right in the middle of the countryside—aquaculture. It is fantastic what water can do. We also went to the innovative rhubarb producers, one of the largest in Australia, called Razz Rhubarb. We tried their rhu brew, which I recommend to everyone who wants particularly to clean your system out. Then we went to Bridestowe Estate lavender farm, the largest lavender farm in Australia, second only to the French and probably surpassing them now and the Japanese. I really recommend you go and visit, particularly if you like lavender cheese and lavender sausage, followed by lavender ice cream, which is probably still on my other coat. We also met with vegetable growers and processors in my village of Forth.

We then went further into the beautiful north-west to Britton Timbers and Ta Ann processing facilities in Smithton, where we again reiterated the importance of the IGA process in Tasmania and our support for Ta Ann, a sustainable producer of value-added wood products. And we condemned again the outrageous behaviour of some of those environmental groups that are threatening their customers. We also met with the Van Diemen's Land Company, Hammond Farms, Greenham Beef and Tasmanian Dairy Products, who of course are part and parcel of this extraordinary expansion and explosion of dairying in north-west Tassie. We thank those people who hosted us so very well in this the Year of the Farmer.