Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Country Cabinet

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:05): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister tell the house about the country cabinet that was held in the Adelaide Hills?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:06): I thank the honourable member for his question. It really was a fantastic few days in the Adelaide Hills last week. I was very pleased to meet with a range of producers and processors in what was a very busy and informative country cabinet.

It began for me at Ambleside Distillers in Hahndorf, which of course is a great example of the changing face of Adelaide Hills food, wine and beverage offerings and yet another drawcard to Hahndorf and a credit to its creators, Matt, Steve and Trudy Dickson.

Minister Bettison and I met with a range of the region's wine and tourism sector stakeholders to discuss future opportunities for agritourism. We also took part in a facilitated Q&A that covered a number of issues that are of particular importance in the sector in the Adelaide Hills, including how to overcome the challenges of converting what are incredible numbers of daytrip visitation into longer stays, how to increase the accommodation offerings and how to capitalise on the increasing overseas visitor numbers post COVID. The interaction and opportunities within agriculture, particularly in the agritourism sector, were a large part of that forum.

It was also valuable to catch up with members of the Mount Barker ag bureau, a group of dedicated producers from right across the Hills. We had a wideranging conversation about how government can support farmers and the things we are already doing to support them to do what they do best.

From there it was an absolute pleasure to get out to a range of farms and processing facilities and see firsthand the great work that is taking place across a wide range of ag sectors. From brussels sprouts to cherries, potatoes to cheese, and many things in-between, the Adelaide Hills is a hive of agricultural production, with great South Australian producers continuing to drive an ever increasing and evolving diversification of offerings that are in demand right around Australia and also importantly right around the world.

I must mention the incredible turnout on a cold night last Wednesday for the community forum. I am advised there were over 600 people.

The Hon. K.J. Maher: They got nine to their one in Port Augusta.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: I did hear that the opposition got nine to their forum in PortĀ Augusta.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Minister, sit down. I can't hear you, so I will wait until they are finished. Is everybody good? Continue please.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: I appreciate that those opposite would be disappointed that they got nine people only to their turnout, which I think perhaps reflects how relevant they are seen in the regions. It was great to be able to talk to over 600 people and hear the sorts of issues they have top of mind. There were a large number of questions that were asked and answered right across the spectrum of government agencies and ministers.

One recurring theme was that, as the region continues to grow, the Hills community want a government that is willing to invest in them. People are moving to the region because it is a great place to live, and our government will continue to work to realise its potential amongst that incredible growth, investing in health, roads and infrastructure, and continuing to support the farmers and producers who built the region.

I would also like to especially acknowledge local MP, the independent member for Kavel, Dan Cregan, for his involvement. He is a very hardworking local MP, and his strong support in local communities was evident.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: As the Hon. Mr Maher is saying, he seems to be absolutely loved in that community. It's times like last week's country cabinet that I just cannot fathom why those opposite just weren't interested in holding them. They just went for four years and didn't bother to listen in forums such as this, so I am very pleased that we, this government, has reinstated them, and that we are having such a fantastic response in each and every place that we have gone to so far. I am proud to be a part of a government that takes the time to listen to regional communities right across the state.