Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Speech at the launch of the 'Brought to you by our Fishers' Campaign, Sydney.

Download PDFDownload PDF

The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Transcript of Tony Burke Launch of the 'Brought to you by our Fishers' Campaign Sydney Fish Market

29 August 2008


Thank you. I love coming here and I come here a lot. If I’m entertaining people, there is one place that I go shopping and it’s here. I always buy the big fish, wrap them in the banana leaves that the veggie shop has here, pack it with dill and ginger first and in the barbie, 150 degrees, 25 minutes each side. Absolutely sensational. I take the family down here from time to time as well.

It always astonishes me when people talk about healthy eating and healthy food and you go to a shop that is allegedly called a health food store and you find a whole lot of fish products that have been turned into pills that fill the shelves.

If you want to go to a real health food store, I reckon you walk about 20 metres that way. If you want to have the healthiest and freshest and best-tasting produce in the world, then there’s four Australian fishermen today as an example of who produces that.

Most people don’t disappear for a day, or for four nights at a time, to go out to work. Most people don’t have 4am or 3am, or whatever, as their start time each day. None of those sorts of hours or conditions are new to Australia’s fishers and what we acknowledge today is that Australia shouldn’t just be proud of the product. Australia should to be proud of the people who go out and get the product.

I think it’s important today that this isn’t just backed by industry. I really think it matters that government funding was part of this. Often when there’s something to promote, industry people say, “Oh why is government being involved?” It’s important for the marketing campaign to make clear that Australia believes in the work that our fishers do. That as a nation we think this is important. We reckon that the work that our fishers are doing is important, is sensational, and is something that is part of, not a threat to, maintaining a sustainable resource.

We deal with our fishing in a responsible way in Australia. And since I got this job, I have met with counterparts in a number of countries where they really struggle to get their citizens to deal with fishing in a sustainable way. In Australia we do, and we should be proud of that. Proud of the work and proud of the food and flavour that we end up with.

You know everyone else has said that we’ve all got different working conditions. Everyone else when they go to work, essentially go to work to be able to provide food, clothing shelter, mainly food for your family. I reckon there is something pretty special about people who, when they go to work, they provide food, not just for their own family, but for families all around Australia and around the world.

That’s what our fishers do. Providing the best quality products that manufacturers try to get in on by turning parts of it into pills. For flavour, for nutrition, I don’t know how those places get called health food shops. I really find that odd. But what we celebrate today, with some of the best chefs in the nation, is to be able to say really simply this: “The work you do is important. We are proud as a nation of the work that our fishers do.”

We want to send a message to every Australian consumer that when you buy Australian seafood products you are making a smart choice, a healthy choice and a delicious choice.