Australia China Friendship Society

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:11): I rise to speak to the motion by the member for Hartley:

That this house notes—

(a) congratulates the Australia China Friendship Society on celebrating its 50 th anniversary in 2016;

(b) acknowledges the significant work and commitment of the Australia China F riendship Society's committee and volunteers, past and present, who continuously work towards building and promoting a friendship between the peoples of Australia and China; and

(c) acknowledges the im portance of their establishment and the society's attempts at bringing to the Australian public a greater knowledge and understanding of China's rich cultural heritage.

I was one of the members who, on 25 February, participated in the 50th celebration dinner at Ming's restaurant along with His Excellency the Governor, Hieu Van Le, and his wife, Lan Le. It was a great celebration of 50 years of collaboration. I acknowledge longtime friends of China Pat O'Riley and June Phillips, both from Murray Bridge, and certainly Brian O'Riley, who has since passed, who was also a very keen friend of China and did a lot of work in that regard.

I urge people who have the opportunity to go on one of the Confucius trips—as the member for Hartley, the member for Heysen and I did most recently—and I know other members from this place have gone in the past. If you have never been, it is the best way to look at this amazing culture. You are hosted in an excellent manner and go right around Qingdao; whether it is in Shandong Province or Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall, it is a fascinating experience and we were made very welcome.

A bit is said at times about the slowdown in China's growth. When you look at it perhaps in percentage terms, it has slowed down, but it is still growing at a remarkable rate. Many of the buildings we saw, which there were probably small cities, had 20 or 30 cranes in one location building multistorey apartment blocks for people to live in. They are certainly taking a focused approach. It is a bit like we are doing in some areas here at Port Augusta with Sundrop Farms, for example, and with the work done around Virginia with horticulture and the giant glasshouses. They are looking at that concentrated production so that they can utilise their land much more efficiently.

There are so many opportunities in China and we need to embrace them. I know that there are many wine companies. Certainly, Beston Foods has recently purchased the milk factories at both Jervois and Murray Bridge, and I commend them for the unique export work they are doing with branded products. With the brand lock system that has been put in place, they can fight back against counterfeiting, and do it really well, and people can download the QR code and track where the product came from or find out if in fact it is genuine. That is something that really needs to be taken into account, that they certainly do great work going into the market.

Golden North Ice Cream has also got into the market. I note and congratulate them for winning an award at the Food Awards the other night here in Adelaide. They have done great work dipping their toes into the China market, and they have really only done so to great work dipping their toes into the China market, and they have really only done so to the ultimate potential, but unless you dip your toes into a market like that you never know quite where the potential could be with the many millions of people who live in that country. They are certainly having a red hot go, and there are many other countries that are doing it, too.

As with any of our trade, we have to support our free trade agreements, and trade is two-way. There is debate at times about Chinese investment here in Australia, but we also have many billions of dollars worth of investment over there. We are a country that has been built on foreign investment and, yes, we do have to monitor it, but I think that especially in agriculture we need capital. That was something we learnt during the select committee into sustainable farming, where people said, 'Yes, we love to farm, but we are starved of capital.' We certainly need that to be stronger into the future.

I certainly commend the work of the Australia China Friendship Society, and it is something we must keep doing because it is a very important two-way trade location. There are so many businesses that are getting on board and getting on with that trade. In fact, at Tailem Bend, with the export hay facility there, they have a Chinese lady who works with their group and helps market their product into the many dairies in China. I think that is an ideal way, that you have someone on the ground to help you navigate and get the deals done, especially with the obvious language barrier at times.

I had the privilege only the other night of going to the opening of the cellar door on Kensington Road of the Schubert Estate winery from Marananga in the Barossa. I was invited because not only are they my constituents but the Chapman family, Andrew Chapman—

An honourable member: Were you invited?

Mr PEDERICK: Absolutely. Tom and Wendy Chapman furnished me with an exclusive invitation to go to that function. It was great to see the collaboration where obvious Chinese co-investment has come into that estate and opened up more doors for more export into China of our fabulous wine. We get plenty of opportunities in this state to drink good wine, and there is no reason that we should not export it interstate and to the world because we have the best state and the best country for growing wine. It was a great event and I wish them all the best. They do not have a cellar door up in the Barossa, and this is their access into the populus of Adelaide and beyond.

I commend the work of the Australia China Friendship Society. I know there is a delegation coming out from China next week, and I will have the opportunity to catch up with some of them. There are also some industry people catching up with them, including Ingham's and Thomas Foods, who are both major players in my electorate. Thomas Foods employs over 2,000 people, and Ingham's is opening up its grow-out facility at Yumali, not very many kilometres from my home at Coomandook. It is supplying a lot of employment right now with the building of those grower sheds for chickens, and will supply many jobs into the future. However, it is not just that: a new feed mill will also go in near Murray Bridge in the future to supply the ever-growing chicken industry.

I commend Pat O'Riley and Regional Development Australia for helping set up that meeting for next week and the displays of our produce that will be shown to our Chinese visitors. This is what we need to do continuously, to market to our food to the world, because we can be the delicatessen to the world. We can grow enough food here to feed about 80 million people, so we do need to export and we do need to foster those relationships, just as the Australia China Friendship Society does. I commend their work.