Horticulture Industry

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:00): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Members interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: He is obviously very popular. Can the minister update the house on how the state government is building South Australia's horticulture industry?

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:01): Yes, I can, and it gives me great pleasure—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: —to acknowledge the member for Hammond's question and thank him for his hospitality as part of my regional tour last week. While I was in Hammond, I visited Langhorne Creek, one of the great wine regions of South Australia. I was able to make an announcement of support to the wine grapegrowers down there, in giving them funding towards dealing with heat stress, particularly in vineyards. We know that we had a very, very hot spell in the summer just gone by, and it had a detrimental impact on the vineyards down there. Some of the vineyards have lost 70 per cent of their crop.

The reason they lost a lot of that crop was obviously that there was moisture deficiency, but there was also the management regime that surrounds those vineyards. Some of them saw that the canopy looked after the vine but that it didn't look after the fruit. In essence, we saw a large amount of the fruit cooked in its jacket. That funding is enabling them to do the research on heat stress, particularly in the vineyards.

Both the member for Hammond and I were hosted by Bleasdale Wines. I know that the member for MacKillop has a connection there. I helped the member put his booties on, and I put mine on, and we put our high-vis on to look after the phylloxera-free vineyards down at Langhorne Creek. When we went in there and had a look at some of the monitoring equipment in that vineyard, it showed me how advanced the vineyards are at Langhorne Creek and how advanced the wine industry is here in South Australia—and it's through the good work of the Marshall Liberal government backing our wine industry. It's a $2.2 billion industry and growing. It's great to see that our government's initiative in working with industry is showing ways and means that we can actually help protect these valuable crops.

It also gave me the opportunity to move on down to Kimbolton Wines, where I met up with a large group of the wine grapegrowers in the Langhorne Creek area. The general discussion around the room was dealing with water and the certainty of the wine industry. What they commended to us were the initiatives we were putting in place along the way to support that industry. At Bremerton, Lucy Wilson and her father, Greg, are also looking to expand, and I went down there with the member for Hammond. They now have confidence that they have a government that is putting money into the regions, backing the regions and also backing the wine industry. That was great to see.

While I was out and about in the Clare Valley, I visited Rob Jaeschke's Hill River Clare Estate and announced funding for looking into diversity of water supply into the Clare Valley. It was great that I was joined by the member for Frome. We looked at a study that will now be undertaken to deal with the high levels of salinity in water—looking at the salinity in some of the ground aquifer—and it is also about the ability for that scoping study to look at ways and means of diversifying water.

We can look at the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme. Is it viable to extend the pipeline from the Bolivar treatment plant and put treated water up into the Clare Valley? Not only is it dealing with salinity and the heat but it's also giving the Clare Valley an opportunity to expand, to grow and to look at the Clare Valley as another of the great wine regions not only here in South Australia but across the state.

I also travelled up to the Riverland to the Thomson vineyards at Woolpunda and made a $150,000 announcement about business growth opportunities within the wine industry. It's an external set of eyes looking at those businesses—how they can grow, how they can seek export markets and how they can be a bigger contributor to the economy of South Australia.

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