17 May 2012
of the Legislative Council
BUSINESSES - TAMAR VALLEY
(Rosevears) - This is my opportunity, too, to welcome the new member
for Hobart to our chamber. I look forward to working with you as I do
with the member for Western Tiers again for another six years.
state budget -
Harriss - That is not
what you said via e-mail.
FINCH - Today's state
budget, Madam President, is going to be brought down against a
background of recession in Tasmania. I suppose it is a recession in
technical terms but disputed by some, including the government.
argument is, however, rather an academic one. The fact is that while
the national unemployment rate continues to drop, Tasmania's
continues to rise. As we have all heard, the state government's
income from GST is going to be down by $14 million for the coming
year; it will be down by $500 million over the next five years - a
gloomy background for a budget indeed. I am not so gloomy and the
reason is a recent tour of the electorate of Rosevears, where I saw
some outstanding initiatives.
President, on 9 May and 10 May, I saw some wonderful ventures. They
included a vineyard and restaurant business being developed by a
Tasmanian cycling champion who lived in France for 10 years; a Legana
dairy property which has been in the same family for 170 years; a
family-run potato farm which sells specialty varieties direct to
retailers and the public; innovative regional craftsmanship at an
artisan gallery; a walnut grower who triples the price of the
in-shell product. I have spoken before about the Tamar Ridge
vineyard, bought two years ago by a big Victorian producer who wants
to make Tasmania the pinot noir capital of the southern hemisphere.
is a family-owned orchard direct marketing to supermarkets and a
family-run pig producer adopting the latest production techniques and
also with direct marketing. All the ventures visited fit Tasmania's
clean, green image and, I would argue, have long-term economic
viability because of innovation or, you could put it, because they
are being developed and run with thought and intelligence.
production on the West Tamar is booming. Production and planting
continues to expand and we could have visited dozens of sites but we
decided to visit a family operation which has not much more than 5
hectares planted and the biggest, Tamar Ridge, of course now owned by
Brown Brothers. The Velo vineyard at Legana is run by Mary and her
husband, Michael Wilson, a former professional cyclist on the
European road-racing circuit including being the first Australian to
ride in the Tour de France. What sets Velo vineyard apart from many
others of a similar size is the development of a new café and
kitchen area with the help of a federal tourism grant of $100 000 and
also the production of handcrafted cool-climate wines. It will open
seven days a week in a few months and they will employ nine staff and
have cellar door sales.
far from Velo vineyard is the Lovely Banks dairy. It totals 1 200
acres, it is just there at Legana and has been in the Griffiths
family for 170 years. Some would remember the name of Eldon
Griffiths, the former mayor of the West Tamar, and his son, John, now
runs the business. They employ 20 people on three properties, casual
and full-time staff. The farm uses recycled water waste from Legana
and Grindelwald through a series of six ponds, a very innovative way
of re-using that suburban waste water and it reduces the heavy
pollution risk in the Tamar Estuary as the water was previously
discharged into the Tamar.
mentioned the biggest vineyard on the West Tamar region, Tamar Ridge.
It is one of the vineyards sold by Gunns which was sold to Brown
Brothers about two years ago. They have five vineyards in Victoria
but consider none of them suitable for pinot noir production so they
have developed that here in Tasmania. They have made the decision to
buy the former Gunns vineyards because they want to make us the pinot
noir capital. Ross Brown argues that although New Zealand makes good
pinot noirs, they are seen as the leading producer of sauvignon blanc
wines so that leaves Tasmania to pick up the pinot noir capital
mentioned earlier the innovations in the production of potatoes and
pigs. Wayne and Sue Adams of Holwell are cutting out the middleman in
marketing their potatoes. They are going directly to retailers and a
farmer's market with their variety of boutique potatoes. So are
Michael and Sallie Lees who operate the Windara Orchard. They are
dealing directly with supermarkets. They offer a large variety of
apples. Their Jonagolds are particularly delicious.
Chris and Lucy Landon-Lane of Tamar Valley Walnuts, it is all about
value-adding - you can harvest and sell walnuts at $11 per kilo but
the Landon-Lanes shell and dry their organically grown walnuts and
they receive $35 per kilo. They are dried slowly at less than 30
degrees for a week to enhance the flavour and are sought after by the
health food market.
are told it is hard to make a buck out of pork these days because
there are so many very big producers but Alan and Lyn Broomby at
Winkleigh are not high-volume, corporate pig producers. It is a
family farm made sustainable by keeping up with the latest production
techniques and direct marketing to butchers and wholesalers. It seems
that direct marketing is one of the keys to survival for these small
mentioned Brown Brothers, which are relatively big producers, but
they have all thought very carefully about their businesses and, in
my view, show the way to Tasmania's future - recession or not. I am
proud to have them in Rosevears and grateful to them for helping to
maintain my optimism about our economy.