Wednesday 24 May 2017
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Marinova - Use of Kelp

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I want to hark back to my second reading speech on the bill we were just working through.  It was mentioned by the member for Windermere, questioning whether there was an issue with the company I mentioned, Marinova, in respect of some concern over the seaweed they were using.  I realised you did not have the information before you and you were flying blind.  I wanted to make sure we did not besmirch Marinova because you did in a questioning way.  I want to highlight that, and the member for Rumney might make note of this because it is in your electorate and it would be the most fantastic location, if you have an electorate tour, for us to go and visit.  It is highly scientific and profitable.  It is a wonderful company with scientists coming from all over the world to work in that establishment.

The kelp came in 30 years ago in ballast from Japan and it was recognised as a pest by marine authorities, by environmental authorities here.  Marinova found a way to develop that into a product used in health products.  It is antiviral, osteoarthritis is something being explored for it to treat - there are 3 million suffers of osteoarthritis in Australia alone.  Also it helps in recovery from radiation treatment, from cancer, swine flu, herpes viruses.

Ms Rattray - That's disparaging.

Mr FINCH - I realise that.  I was looking at a particular member then, not the general booth.  However, I might say that the kelp has now been exhausted, the problem has been solved in Tasmania and they import their kelp mostly from Argentina now.  Through a very complicated scientific process it is turned into these wonderful products, but a minuscule amount is worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It is a very successful company.

Ms Forrest - High value, low volume.

Mr FINCH - Yes, so congratulations go to the Garrotts.  I wanted to mention that because the father does not get involved in political issues, but he felt so moved by this turn of events that he wanted to put something on record.  He disapproved and he feels that his company will be affected in the short and long term.

Mr Dean - So there is no harvesting of kelp in Tasmania at all?

Mr FINCH - From what I was led to believe.  I know it is not a debate, Mr President, there is no need to bother.  I believe the problem has been solved and they are importing.