Thursday 14 October 2010
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Mr FINCH (Rosevears)- Madam President, I acknowledge the fantastic fundraising effort that the member for Murchison was talking about and I want to talk about a fundraising dinner that certainly political parties could only dream of; more than $800 a plate in Tasmania, from a mix of ordinary people, not billionaires and mining magnates. In a couple of hours we raised $164 000, and that is just over food, wine and a few brief speeches. Dream on party fundraisers. It is unlikely that any of Tasmania's political parties could have found a benefactor with a cause who would have matched every dollar raised with one of her own, effectively paying $400 or probably nearer to $500 a plate for everyone who attended, and no party would have attracted such a cross-section of support.

Who pulled it off, Madam President? Our threatened State icon, the Tasmanian devil which crosses all party lines. The occasion I speak of was termed 'A Devil of a Dinner - a Divine Degustation'. It was the second one and it was held at Hobart's Elizabeth Street Pier on Monday 4 October, just a couple of weeks ago, and why was it such a success I hear you cry?

Ms Rattray - Because I attended.

Mr FINCH - Yes, but do not take all the credit, please.

Firstly, it was for a cause which has captured world imagination and, secondly, it was organised by an exceptionally motivated and talented group of Tasmanians who work under the banner of the Devil Island Project. The big benefactor was Jan Cameron who has promised to match every dollar raised from the dinners and this was our second as mentioned.

The project works hard to set up large breeding reserves for devils and is progressing rapidly. Devil Island 1 of 30 acres has had a successful second breeding season with up to 10 more joeys being raised. Devil Island 2 has 60 acres near Bridport and is nearly ready to be stocked with devils. Devil Island 3 of 60 acres on the Freycinet Peninsula is about four weeks from completion. Devil Island 4 is awaiting a new site after landowners pulled out of the original one but $250 000 is now available to start building as soon as possible.

The project is awaiting directions from the Save the Tasmanian Devil Steering Committee and DPIPWE as to future plans regarding more devil islands, their management regimes and also their size and it involves the entire community and Tasmania's wildlife parks. The Devil Island Project is working in partnership with the Government to establish an insurance population in Tasmania. The Chairman of the Devil Island Project, Bruce Englefield, who is the architect designer of devil islands, is a finalist tomorrow in a national award for innovation in design and use of materials and it will be announced on the Gold Coast.

Star attractions at the Devil of a Dinner included the famous Sydney-based chef Tetsuya Wakuda. He brought a team of chefs with him from Sydney and our own chefs in Tasmania - Will Goodman, Iain Todd, Matt Starkey, Paul Foreman and Aaron Gillespie - were there along with our master of ceremonies for the night and our famous Tasmanian Ray Martin who did a splendid job; our winemaker Dr Andrew Pirie and auctioneer Adrian Kelly. Fiona Hoskin was the main organiser and you may know Fee, she is the Fee of Launceston's Fee and Me Restaurant. Olympic champion and now champion for the devils, Shane Gould was 'the driver' who organised what was a complicated event to stage.

David Hopkins, whose Lions Club members assisted with the building of the hut at Devil Island 1 and the construction of the Devil Island fence at Flax Road to the value of $11 000, had one of his paintings of three baby devil joeys sold for $4 500 on the night at auction - not bad. Special thanks to our Hobart committee headed by Christine Neely who helped with the organisation. The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, David O'Byrne, attended and he is taking a special interest in the project.

Tetsuya Wakuda is Tasmania's brand ambassador and has been for about six years. He loves Tasmania. He comes here regularly to look for new products and to help many of our food producers get their products to market. He has single-handedly been responsible for the success of many small to medium producers selling their products and expanding their markets, particularly internationally. He is so well regarded internationally and a recommendation from him has chefs from around the world taking notice. Of course Tetsuya's additions to the menu for the dinner were magnificent as were the additions from the local chefs. It was a hell of a night and a hell of a dinner, Madam President.

Ms Forrest - A devil of a night?

Mr FINCH - A devil of a night, thank you. With $164 000 raised in one night it was a great success.