LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin hosted NSW Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Investment and Tourism Jenny Aitchison as her three-day North Coast tour hits Murwillumbah on Friday, August 16 and Lismore on Saturday, August 17.
Ms Saffin and Ms Aitchison visited a cane farm near Murwillumbah owned and operated by Australian Cane Farmers Deputy Chairman (Senior) Robert Quirk.
Mr Quirk was founding chair of Bonsucro – the global standard for growing sugar cane internationally – and now serves as its ambassador worldwide. He is recognised as a leader in carbon farming and sustainable agriculture.
Tweed Canegrowers Association President Robert Hawken, who owns a neighbouring farm, will join the politicians as they tour Mr Quirk’s farm.
Ms Saffin said she was pleased to arrange for Ms Aitchison to meet with sugar and dairy industry leaders to hear their issues as markets faced the challenges of drought conditions domestically and economic headwinds internationally.
“We have some of the best farmers in the world so it is important that their innovative ideas and practices feed into the NSW Opposition’s policy development and advocacy in the NSW Parliament,” Ms Saffin said.
On Saturday, August 17, Ms Saffin and Ms Aitchison met with Destination North Coast NSW’s General Manager Michael Thurston for a briefing on priority projects aimed at improving the visitor experience and maximising the visitor economy.
“Tourism is of huge value to the North Coast; Tourism Research Australia’s international and national visitor surveys revealed that in 2018 the visitor spend into our region was $12.5 million a day,” Ms Saffin said.
The MPs also will meet with Norco chairman and dairy farmer Greg McNamara to reaffirm the NSW Opposition’s commitment to establishing an independent Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner, something the NSW Government refuses to do.
“Shadow Minister Jenny Aitchison and Courtney Houssos MLC last week gave notice of a Labor bill in both houses of Parliament aimed at stamping out unfair practices in fresh food and dairy to give farmers and producers a fair go,” Ms Saffin said.