Page 4678 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018
are able to save up to $20,000 on the cost of transporting fodder, water, and stock as part of this scheme. Rural resilience grants are another initiative, helping farms improve on farm infrastructure as well as fencing to manage our favourite kangaroos and their grazing. It is important that we continue to support our farmers as they battle some of the driest conditions in living memory.
We know that some of our interstate friends love to Canberra bash, but this is outdated and, frankly, silly. It is a silly view of the nation’s capital. Fortunately, it is gradually changing as more and more people realise just how much our region has to offer. Support, though, begins at home. Our primary producers are an important piece of the puzzle, and our supporting our primary producers is a very important piece of that puzzle. So when you are next in need of some honey or a glass of wine, think local. It is good for business, it is good for the economy and it is good for Canberrans.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.05): I thank Ms Cheyne for raising this important issue. We all eat, so it is very important from the point of view of self-sufficiency and resilience, and it is also incredibly important for our health. Apparently, only 68 per cent of people eat enough vegetables. I actually do not think that is true; I think it is vastly less than that. If we are going to talk about health—I am not going to—I would also point out that what you eat has a huge amount to do with your health. Obesity and being overweight are major contributors, as we have talked about many times, to chronic disease.
I am going to have a much more cheerful conversation. In 2013 my colleague Shane Rattenbury was minister for TAMS; therefore, he was the ACT’s de facto minister for primary industry. He held a round table on food security which had the simple aim of increasing the percentage of food consumed in the ACT region that is produced and processed locally. The round table agreed that, in the context of climate change and peak oil, it is really important that we have a reliable food supply to assist Canberra to become more resilient. At that time they were talking about Canberra and the region; I appreciate that the MPI is a bit tighter, so I will talk more locally and not about the region, which, of course, is a vital part of the food supply for all of us here in Canberra.
They came to the conclusion that there were a range of policies that could be put in place to support local food production, including the right zoning so that productive agricultural land in the ACT is protected and utilised, and policies that facilitate the use of private land and public open space for food production within urban areas, whether they be domestic, community, market or commercial gardens. I will talk about these, starting with the ones closest to us—making better use of our suburbs. There are a lot of opportunities in our suburbs for more food production which do not require much government activity. We could explore opportunities for increased use of urban unleased land for food production, such as better use of unleased land near our creeks, cyclepaths, road easements and underneath powerline easements—lots and lots of places.
I refer also to public and residential use of public land for home gardening, such as adjacent public unleased land and nature strips—provided, of course, that residents take responsibility for controlling any pests. I am very happy to say that this is