Senate debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Statements by Senators

Tasmanian Craft Fair, Tasmania: Community Services

1:11 pm

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm pleased to contribute to the senators' statements today and very pleased to be talking about the wonderful state of Tasmania. I'd like to touch on a couple of things today, starting with the Tasmanian Craft Fair, a wonderful event that I was able to volunteer at just a couple of weekends ago along with many members of the Deloraine rotary club, who do a fantastic job putting on this very large event. As I understand, it's the largest craft fair in the Southern Hemisphere. It takes place in the beautiful, picturesque, little town of Deloraine in northern Lyons in the state of Tasmania. This year, the event just past was the biggest event they've had for some time, despite some of the weather we experienced in the early days. Held each year in early November, it's a great opportunity for local crafts men and women, artisans and makers of fine food to put their wares on show to show the rest of the world what we do well in Tasmania. The number of visitors who come from interstate and overseas just to participate and attend that fair is amazing. It is a great testament to the volunteers who put it together. In particular, I'd like to pay tribute to Leslie Dare, who was the coordinator of this year's event, and the hundreds of volunteers who manned the stands and sorted out the logistics for the day. It was absolutely fantastic to see the effort that went into it.

This year, the Deloraine rotary club are using some of the funds raised from the event to provide financial support to the Meander Valley SES rescue unit to buy a much-needed battery-operated combi tool, otherwise known as the jaws of life—a vital piece of equipment which will assist the SES and other volunteer organisations to do their job in a regional community that often experiences accidents and other disasters where tools like this are needed. Well done to the rotary club and those who supported that event.

In particular, I'd like to pay tribute to and commend those who won awards at the craft fair, including Jean Swinyard Ceramics, who was awarded the Premier's Award for Excellence; Bridget Farmer, who was awarded the Best Working Exhibit Award; Jennifer G Frost, who was awarded the Stand Presentation Award; Australian Landscape Jewellery, which received the First Time Exhibitor Award; and, probably the best award I think, which is the Providores Award, went to 7K Distillery. I look forward to getting along to next year's event, and I encourage as many of my Senate colleagues as can come to be there. It's a great event, and it will run from 1 to 4 November 2019.

I also had the good fortune recently to visit the Gagebrook and Bridgewater community houses in Tasmania. Community houses provide a vital service to many communities that are, in some respects, disadvantaged. It was a pleasure to spend time with the crew who run those two particular community houses and examine some of the innovative ways they're looking to support their community and provide a service that they feel the community is benefitting from. The Gagebrook Community Centre, along with its sister house in Bridgewater, services the Brighton municipality and offers a range of programs to local residents. In particular, there is the Waterbridge Food Co-op, which is a wonderful community project that provides fresh, locally grown produce at an affordable price to local residents. In communities where there is social and economic disadvantage, the choice of dietary intake is often substandard. So this community house has come up with this great initiative—supported by the Tasmanian and Australian governments in the past, and I hope that it will be supported into the future—whereby fresh fruit and veg and other produce is made and put on offer for local residents to partake in. Frozen meals are also made at the Waterbridge Food Co-op, from the very affordable price of $3.50 per meal. I have been spruiking this to local businesses in the Hobart area, saying they should get onboard and support this great community house and buy healthy food options for their workplace lunches.

Photo of Doug CameronDoug Cameron (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Human Services) Share this | | Hansard source

Just put some money in!

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Australian government has, in the past—thank you, Senator Cameron. When you're down in Tasmania I look forward to taking you out there to have a look. The good thing is that it also teaches locals ways of being able to grow their own food, harvest their own food and cook. These skills have been lost by many in the younger generation, so I commend those at the community houses, and at Waterbridge in particular, for putting this program on and supporting locals in the way they have. Particularly, I want to place on record my thanks and commendations to Cheynee, Helen and Chelsea from both of the community houses. They do a great job there.

It was fantastic also to see the work that was being undertaken in the community gardens of both houses. Those community gardens are open to members of the public who want to come on in and harvest their own fruit and veg. It was put to me that they use the best fertiliser in Tasmania—so good, apparently, that someone was pilfering it at night. It's not one of those things I would look to steal—or anything, for that matter!—but someone out there was taking their fertiliser.

Senator Urquhart interjecting

I will try and get the recipe for Senator Urquhart; we could all use it. So, there are a couple of fantastic entities there. I commend them and all the community houses around Tasmania for the work that they do in supporting disadvantaged Tasmanians and disadvantaged communities, teaching them healthy eating habits and providing the services that they do. I commend them, and I ask all Tasmanians to support them.

Moving to the east coast of Tasmania, I had the good fortune to visit the team at the Triabunna Village, an entity set up by the East Coast Regional Development Organisation. The village is a great little space where community groups of all shapes and sizes come together to meet, to practice their hobbies and to run a number of events. It was great to catch up with Glynis Flower, who showed me around the site and gave me an insight into what they're doing and what support they need into the future. I look forward to working with them on the things that they are looking to expand into, and also to hearing about the work of Tom Tenniswood, who is one of the coordinators there on site. The village, which is community run and community owned, is home to the Spring Bay Youth Hub, which meets regularly, and the village market, which, like many other events in the small towns around Tasmania, is an event where local craftspeople and manufacturers of fine produce can come and sell their wares to locals. That happens once a month.

It's also home to the Spring Bay Community Boat Shed, which I was most interested to attend. The Spring Bay Community Boat Shed is part of the Tasmanian Men's Shed Association, another group of organisations that do a fantastic job, especially in small communities. Men's sheds are doing great work in Triabunna, and they service the surrounding area, the Glamorgan-Spring Bay municipal area. One of the projects I was shown by one of their coordinators, David Gatenby, is their restoration project of the Una, a wooden vessel from the Strahan harbour that is rich in history. They've done a great job and are hoping to display this vessel at the next Wooden Boat Festival. It's held every two years in Hobart. So I wish that group very well in their efforts and, indeed, look forward to supporting them as well.

The village is also home to the Spring Bay Potters, which is another group of locals who come together to try their hand at arts and crafts. It was great to visit their new facility and meet with their coordinator, Dorothy Duncan-Jackson. Dorothy is very much, I could see upon my encounter, a force of nature. She was leading the group into their new facility and teaching them all sorts of new tricks. I didn't try any pottery because I know it's not my strong point! But these sorts of groups and organisations do good things for people who might be retired or might be easing out of the workforce. They give them things to do in the community, such as the men's sheds, the community houses, the Spring Bay Potters, the Spring Bay Youth Hub and the Spring Bay boat shed. All of these organisations do a wonderful thing for the people who participate in their activities. So, again, I say to those who are involved in running these organisations that I commend you and thank you for what you do and look forward to supporting you into the future.