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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1947

Ms LIVERMORE (Capricornia) (19:24): I am very pleased to join members in the debate on this motion to recognise the Australian Year of the Farmer. I note it was put on the Notice Paper by the member for Maranoa, Bruce Scott. The member for Maranoa and I have shared the duty of representing many farmers in the central western parts of Queensland in this place. So I am happy to support him in this motion. He states in the first point of his motion:

… the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 provides an opportunity to celebrate such achievements and to further strengthen the connections between rural and urban Australia …

I am very proud to inform the House that coming up in Rockhampton in just a few months time is the Beef Australia Expo, a proud supporter of the 2012 Year of the Farmer initiative and a feature event of the Year of the Farmer Queensland Road Show. This will be the ninth Beef Expo—so the ninth time that Rockhampton has welcomed beef producers from around the world to our triennial Beef Expo. There are some new members here, so in case you have not heard me say this before, Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia, a tag that we wear very proudly and never so proudly as when we do host that world's beef producers and researchers to our Beef Expo. This year we are expecting more than 70,000 people to go through the gates at Beef Australia in that week 7 May to 12 May. The theme of Beef Australia 2012 is innovation, collaboration, inspiration and celebration. When you look at the program for the week you can see just what a high-quality event this is, and what a truly international event it is. It really does celebrate and recognise and promote the full breadth of what the beef industry is all about. This is a very high-tech industry, it is a very innovative industry, and I am pleased to say that in Central Queensland it is a very strong and growing industry.

To highlight the very international nature of the event, the proceedings will kick off with the Bayer and Bioniche International Beef Cattle Genetics Conference. That is a very important focus of the event, and it has grown as the beef expos have evolved over the years to focus on the full spectrum of the industry. I am pleased to say that the federal government is supporting the expo this year—once again supporting it very strongly—to the tune of over $2 million. I am hoping that the agriculture minister is able to make it along to the Brisbane launch of the expo next Thursday evening because he will get to hear first hand from the chairman, Geoff Murphy, and the CEO, Roger Desailly, just how progress is being made and how the $2 million is being spent to ensure that this year's expo is one to remember and continues the tradition of beef expos in the past, which are getting bigger and better every single time.

I would like to tell the House that the good news for the agricultural sector in my electorate does not start and end with the beef industry. I was in Mackay last week and had the opportunity to meet, as I do regularly, with the chair and CEO of Mackay Sugar, which is the company that runs three of the sugar mills in Mackay. They told me that they are making terrific progress on the very exciting cogeneration project that they embarked upon a couple of years ago. They are putting in a $100 million investment to the Racecourse Mill, which will use the waste product from sugar cane milling, the gas, to produce the equivalent of one-third of Mackay's electricity. They are able to do that thanks to the renewable energy target which this government increased by way of legislation a couple of years ago. They will be ready to generate and sell electricity—they have already got the offtake agreement signed—very shortly. So, well done to Mackay Sugar. I look forward to seeing you grow and prosper. (Time expired)

Debate adjourned.