Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 17, 2023


AgriFutures Rural Women's Award

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (16:27): I move:

That this council—

1. Acknowledges that the 2023 AgriFutures Australia South Australian Rural Women's Awards were held on Tuesday 9 May;

2. Congratulates Ali Paulett of Clare Valley on winning this year's award;

3. Acknowledges the other finalists, Lyndsey Jackson of Moonta, Emily Riggs of Burra, Bridget Johns of Alford and Kerri Cliff of Kimba; and

4. Acknowledges the outstanding contribution of women agricultural leaders in South Australia and their important contribution to their communities and industries.

We must ensure that Australia is and remains a leader in accessing and adopting, as well as developing and exporting, agrifood technologies and innovation. The 2023 AgriFutures Australia South Australian Rural Women's Awards is a wonderful way to highlight momentum from our regions, primary industries and their future.

AgriFutures Australia is the trading name for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. The awards held on Tuesday 9 May 2023 celebrated rural women in the primary industry sector who are leading the way with innovation and invention. The importance of women in agriculture cannot be overstated. They are the backbone of so many South Australian businesses and social enterprises. It is encouraging that more women are having their voices heard from the dining room table to the boardroom table to the political table.

This year's South Australian Rural Women's Award winner, Ali Paulett, hails from the Clare Valley. Ms Paulett is the managing director of the family's 40-year-old business, Paulett Wines. She works alongside her mother-in-law, Alison, father-in-law, Neil, and husband, Matt. Ms Paulett is the lead on the Paulett Winery's award-winning in-house restaurant, Bush DeVine, but it was her passion for bush food that saw her walk away with this year's Rural Women's Award. The Bush DeVine Indigenous Australian Native sensory bush food garden not only supplies the restaurant with high-quality, fresh, native edible plants but also encompasses a sensory walking path and accessible learning space for school groups, communities and tourists to learn more about bush foods.

Each year, the award recipient receives a $15,000 grant from Westpac for their project, which Ali Paulett has indicated will be used in collaboration with First Nations people for videography and enhanced digital interaction in order to bring a wider audience to the garden.

Ms Paulett is now entered as a national finalist, which will be decided in Canberra on 12 September. I want to congratulate Ali Paulett on her achievement and wish her all the best with the enhancement of the bush food garden. It is incredible to recognise that Ms Paulett has done all this work whilst raising three children. It follows on from other diverse careers in equestrian training, architectural drafting and veterinary nursing.

Congratulations must also be made to the other South Australian finalists—Lyndsey Jackson of Moonta, Emily Riggs of Burra, Bridget Johns of Alford and Kerri Cliff of Kimba—on making it through to the final stages of the South Australian award. I applaud this year's final five, and all women who entered the competition, for their efforts.

AgriFutures Australia, which is responsible for the awards, is one of several research development corporations that service the research, development and extension needs of Australian rural industries. They represent research needs for several rural industries in South Australia, including chicken meat, honey bees and pollination, pasture seeds and export fodder.

I have mentioned in this place before that investment in our agricultural research and development is vital. If we as a state are planning to feed our increasing population on homegrown produce, we must continue to innovate. If we plan on meeting these new needs in a sustainable manner, we must continue to research and improve. If we plan on not only maintaining but growing our regions, we must invest in them.

The state Liberal Party will always champion our food and fibre producers in South Australia, a sector that supports more than 70,000 jobs for South Australians and their families. I and my colleagues will continue to press for investment and support mechanisms for primary industry research, development and extension. We continue to support job creation, productivity, produce diversity and innovation. The South Australian Liberal Party understands that our regions and our primary industries are an integral part of our economy. Celebrating the innovators, the leaders and the achievers is one way that we all do our part to support this sector.

Congratulations once again to Ali Paulett on her wonderful work with the Bush DeVine Indigenous Australian Native sensory bush food garden and to all the innovators in South Australia's rural and regional areas.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. R.P. Wortley.