Monday, 24 June 2013
Agriculture, Resources, Fisheries and Forestry Committee; Report
I would like to add to the comments by the member for Lyons. These were two very important inquiries: the inquiry into the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research annual report and the inquiry into the Wine Australia annual report. Important work is done by both of these bodies, particularly because of their direct relevance to regional and rural Australia.
The report into Wine Australia was very significant. There are two key points that I would like to reflect on. The first is that it is very important to see that the wine industry in Australia not only is looking at volume but is doing all it can to make sure we can continue to add value to our wine. I think that is going to be incredibly important going forward. Adding value to the wine that we produce, especially when we are dealing with the Asian market, is going to be incredibly important to the sector. We have to keep looking at ways that we can gain further market access, especially in our near region. It was very good to see that these are considerations that Wine Australia are on top of, including where they should be putting their resources—whether our resources should be more evenly spread across the globe or whether we should be starting to move away from resources in our mature markets.
I would also like to add to the comments of the member for Lyons with regard to the committee. I would like to commend him as chair for the way he has gone about his job during this current parliament. He has been a very fair chair. He has made sure that the committee's work has been done very much on a bipartisan basis. I commend him for that. There has been only one bill that has in any way caused us any problems and the chair very wisely moved that bill on, so I commend him on the way he has handled himself.
I would also like to thank the other members of the committee for the way they have gone about doing their job and thank the secretariat for the very professional way they have done their jobs. Finally, I would like to reinforce the comments with regard to the member for Hume, the deputy chair of the committee. The member for Hume has been on this agriculture, forestry and fisheries committee—and the previous committees that have gone before it that have had various names—for 12 years now. I think that shows quite clearly his passion to represent regional and rural Australia. He has done an outstanding job. I will never forget him relaying to us in one of the committee meetings the work that he and his wife, Gloria, did with regard to drought stricken farmers. I think it was very moving and showed their absolute commitment and their ability to roll sleeves up and actually go out there and not just talk but also walk the walk.
Member for Hume, we will miss you on this committee. I must say there are probably some witnesses who have come before the committee who might not miss the member for Hume because he can be quite direct and frank in his questioning. But he saw that as very much part of his doing his job and we will miss the member for Hume.