Monday, 24 June 2013
I rise today to recognise the steps taken by this government to ensure accurate country of origin labelling. Australia is a proud nation that produces many products and much produce, and we strive to uphold those values of fairness, and this is part of our national character. For the people of Hindmarsh and indeed all Australians, local industry and local jobs are always at the front of our minds. We want to make sure that Australia continues to be a prosperous nation for our children and grandchildren. That is why since my election in 2004 I have constantly striven to ensure that, through accurate country of origin labelling, all Australians are able to know exactly what they are purchasing, where it is from, and where it was made or assembled. This is especially true of our food produce. We have a very proud history of growing and farming some of the best quality produce in the world. It is being produced right here in our own backyards, in our farms and in our rural areas. But, when we are at the supermarket, there is often no way for some of us to find out where it was produced, where it was made or where it is from.
We are able to choose good-quality Australian produce if there is good labelling but, if there is not good labelling, those of us that want to support local jobs and buy local produce are unable to do so. That is why I congratulate the government for ensuring that, from 18 July this year, all fresh meat sold in Australia will be required to have accurate labelling. This will allow consumers, the Australian people, to have the choice to buy the world's best local produce and not an imported product pretending to be the same. This is a very good win for our local community and indeed for Australia and producers as a whole.
Many of you will remember back in 2010 when many of us in this place, including me, took great efforts to represent their communities who came to them and expressed their concerns about mad cow disease being imported; there was a proposal at the time to bring beef in from the US. Only a few months ago, many retailers in Northern Europe were found to be selling horsemeat as if it were beef, and I received an influx of complaints from people during that period who were worried that they might be consuming imported horsemeat. After the horsemeat scandal I immediately raised the issue with ministers and others in this place and advocated country of origin labelling. I cannot express how I support these changes and will continue to support the Buy Local campaign to ensure that Australia has a sustainable food sector for generations to come. I think consumers have every right to know where food is from, where it was produced, what it contains and what products were used in that particular item.