Monday, 19 June 2017
I rise this evening to reflect on the fantastic work done in my home state of Victoria, specifically in Ballarat. As a senator for Victoria, it is an honour to represent the hardworking people of the Greater Ballarat shire as they shine in the state's sporting competitions, inspire cultural events in rural areas and drive economic growth in their communities.
But firstly I would like to thank two people who have interned in my office for the last eight weeks. They have both had input into this adjournment speech. Claudia and Finn, I would like to thank you for your good attitudes and your tremendous hard work. I have really appreciated your company and your good humour over the last eight weeks and I wish you all the best for the future. Go Pies!
I would like to begin by applauding the Ballarat Miners on their win over the weekend in the South East Australian Basketball League competition. It was tremendous news this morning to hear of the solid effort by the team to overcome the Hobart Chargers, with particular mention going to Mr Craig Moller for his impressive contribution of 26 points. This very impressive performance by Mr Moller and his team saw the Miners defeat their southern counterparts, the Hobart Chargers, by just five points. I must admit that I enjoyed holding this over my parliamentary colleague from Tasmania Senator Duniam at dinner tonight!
The efforts of the Ballarat Miners over the weekend and in the previous nine games throughout the competition are a reflection of the hard work that has been put in by the people of Ballarat and the rewards that the region enjoys from it. Ballarat's basketballers are not the only sporting stars from the weekend. The Sebastopol Vikings are celebrating after beating the Melton Phoenix 2-zip—very impressive—this Saturday, as are Ballarat City for their proud win of 4-nil in the National Premier League. Sport is evidently alive and well in the great city of Ballarat.
However, it seems that the great athletes of Ballarat are to share their sporting prowess with the rest of the world over the coming months. I was ecstatic to hear that both the Mount Clear College and St Patrick's College of Ballarat have secured the opportunity to host two international teams for this year's international AFL match. This August these two great schools will play host to teams from both Japan and China as they visit Australia once again to fight out the battle for the global title in AFL. The international visit will deliver an enormous benefit to local communities as fans from across the state, from across the country and now from across the world descend on the beautiful city of Ballarat. This is the second time that Ballarat has had the amazing opportunity to host the international competition, and I know that the businesses and the people of Ballarat will not disappoint with their hospitality.
But of course sport is not the only domain that the people of Ballarat are excelling in. This year our marvellous sheep farmers in the Ballarat region have enjoyed some of the strongest prices seen since July last year, with lamb prices recorded as high as $240 a head. Not long ago these prices were half as low as that. I can assure you that Ballarat's farming families, such as the Mahers of Springbank, who were fortunate enough just last Saturday to capitalise on such strong returns, and the Frawleys of Leigh Creek, who last month boasted an even higher return of $250 a head, are thoroughly thrilled by the prices rewarding Ballarat's farmers. This is at the same time that Ballarat wool producers have seen prices increase more than 25 per cent in just the last six months. Our crop growers have enjoyed much-needed rain and our cattle producers have seen prices bounce back up in the last six months to almost 700c a kilogram. Returns like these and those received across much of Victoria are reflective of the great times ahead for Australian agriculture. I cannot begin to explain how thrilled I am to see the farmers in this very special region, this great part of Victoria—and indeed all of Victoria—feel some of those benefits.
This prosperity is evident in Ballarat's thriving arts scene also. Just in the last three months Ballarat have had acclaimed pianists, an a capella group and artists from all over the world descend on Ballarat for a number of exhibitions and showcases. I would like to thank Caroline Almonte for her exquisite piece at the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts last month and also the VOX capella group for their performances throughout Ballarat. Performers like these are examples of the phenomenal talent that exists within the region of Ballarat, and where better to showcase them than in the beautiful community halls this tremendous region has to offer. So it gives me great pride to represent such accomplished people and to share with you their amazing achievements. I thank the chamber for its indulgence.