Page 4676 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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tabled today, reflects a correction to one figure and a correction to the headline on the demographic data, which was incorrectly labelled as 2017 instead of 2016-17 data.

Local primary producers

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Cody): Madam Speaker has received letters from Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mrs Dunne, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Lee, Mr Milligan, Ms Orr, Mr Parton and Mr Pettersson proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Cheyne be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The importance of supporting local primary producers in the ACT.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (3.57): Agricultural production might not be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of the ACT, but it is a sector that contributes millions of dollars to our economy. Canberra is spoiled for choice when it comes to quality locally grown produce. From honey to truffles and the many wineries inside and just outside our borders, our bush capital region punches well above its weight. We are a city of innovation and our primary producers are no exception. And the success story starts at home, which is why it is so important we continue to support these businesses and innovators.

The ACT’s agricultural roots cover a broad range of food and materials. These businesses are growing vegetables. They are growing trees producing a range of fruits and olives. They are growing grapes for wine. They are rearing chickens for meat and egg production. They are rearing cattle for beef. They are rearing sheep for both meat and wool. And they are producing honey.

In the 2016-17 year, the gross value of agricultural production in the ACT hit $11 million. It is a small slice of the national agricultural pie, but an important one nonetheless. What are our most significant commodities money-wise? Cattle tops the list, followed by wool and sheep. Together they make up about 60 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in this region.

On a day-to-day basis, the success of our primary production is perhaps best tested in our local hospitality scene and business community. Locally sourced food and beverages have been essential to the success of many of our city’s best restaurants, cafes and bars, with locally sourced produce and wine becoming a key selling point on many menus across town. Local producers are also making a name for themselves across the capital region.

One industry that can perhaps fly under the radar is our locally produced honey. It is an industry that relies on that sense of community that makes Canberra so special, with the city’s lush gardens and a distribution of hives making the production of honey possible. Canberra Urban Honey is one success story, relying on hive hosts across the territory to produce its award-winning products. The Belconnen honey is obviously the best.

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