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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13885

Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (13:46): I rise today with great delight to congratulate the Australian Garden Council, who came together for the first time right here yesterday in Parliament House. I met the garden icon and new CEO and founder of the council, Mr Graham Ross, last year at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains and have met with him several times since. The council is concerned there is no overarching national platform to coordinate gardening in our nation's interest, such as that which exists in Canada. I could see immediately the potential of this idea and have supported the concept of an Australian garden council since.

Yesterday garden enthusiasts and specialists in the field travelled far and wide from across Australia to Canberra to meet for the first time, forming the national executive of the council. They brought together their ideas, showcasing them to the Prime Minister, Minster Colbeck, members, senators and advisers so that they can bring their vision to reality.

With some 150 tourist gardens in Australia nationally, a national coordination to gardening in Australia is essential, particularly in the area of tourism, which plays such a vital economic role for Australia. Indeed, there are some 300 million gardening tourists around the globe, and what this council hopes to do is to attract these tourists to Australia as a premier destination for garden tourism.