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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3142..

MR BARR (continuing):

bipartisan support for it and they will undo it if they get into government. Is that what you are proposing, Mrs Dunne-that that investment of money in public education is a waste? That is what you are saying-and I reject that completely.

This government is investing a record amount in our public education system. We are doing it to improve teaching and learning outcomes for students and staff. We want to ensure that teaching environments are of the highest quality and that our students in the system have an opportunity to learn in quality learning environments and that we have a quality public education system. That is the government's objective. Those opposite seem hell-bent on trying to stop that happening.

Wine industry

MS PORTER: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. A lot has been written and spoken about the Canberra region wine industry. Can you tell the Assembly how important the industry is to the region and detail some recent achievements?

MR STANHOPE: Indeed, in recent weeks there has been a very significant focus on wine and the importance of the capital region wine industry to the ACT, highlighted by a very significant wine competition last week-the Hyatt International Riesling Challenge. This follows on fairly quickly from the just recently completed Canberra regional wine show, in which the wines of the Canberra district region compete for accolades for the best wines of the region.

These two recent competitions-the international riesling challenge and the Canberra regional wine show-show the extent to which the wine industry in Canberra and the Canberra region has matured significantly over the last decade. From its beginnings just a couple of decades ago it has become a very important part of our community, the region and our attractiveness as a tourism destination. There has been a growing importance in wine. It is the fastest growing agricultural industry in Australia and the ACT has the capacity to be a part of that fast and still-growing agricultural industry.

Compare the potential of the Canberra region wine industry with other already established and highly regarded wine regions in Australia such as the Hunter. Most recent reports and estimates of the potential of the industry here in the region are that it is quite feasible and quite possible that, within the near future, the ACT will have potentially-there is capacity for-4,000 hectares of grapes in this region.

In the context of land, climate and other variables that go to identifying appropriately located and situated land for grapes we could, with 4,000 hectares, produce yields of anywhere between 28,000 and 40,000 tonnes, which is far in excess of the annual yield of the Hunter Valley, one of the recognised iconic wine growing regions of Australia.

It is all right to say that we have the capacity to grow that many grapes and produce that tonnage of grape and that quantity of wine, but what is important is the quality and the capacity for an industry such as the ACT's wine industry to present a face to the nation as a region of exceptional quality as well as capacity. We are seeing that.

There have been some wonderful success stories of recent times. Clonakilla, particularly with its shiraz Viognier, is now leading the nation. This wine is fast gathering iconic

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