Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:19): I rise to support this committee report into the South Australian Produce Market's biosecurity actions that they are taking to protect this multibillion dollar industry that runs in many corners of the state. Angelo Demasi and his team do a magnificent job. This is a huge project which goes to making sure we keep fruit fly at bay. We note that many, many tens of millions—it is probably running into the hundred of millions of dollars in recent times—have been invested to control fruit fly throughout the state, whether it is the outbreaks that occur in the Riverland or in the city of Adelaide and other places. It is vital that this work continues at whatever level.

note the sterile insect project that has been ongoing for several years now. We went to the launch of that quite a few years ago now.

The Hon. L.W.K. Bignell interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: You did. That is a great project so that we can keep up our status for exporting around the world. This project is vital because it will see the growth of the sector go from $3.5 billion to $5 billion by 2030. The estimated cost is just short of $50 million, and it is funded through state and commonwealth funding and also through the South Australian Produce Market Limited and commercial and private investor contributions.

Obviously, as I said, it is about building facilities at the Produce Market site for the control of fruit fly, and that is absolutely needed. This is a major facility that has been open for quite a while now as the new market area for South Australia, not just Adelaide, for those interstate exports, I guess you call them, that we send of our magnificent produce from this state.

As we know, horticulture has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, when you see broadacre horticulture practices applied here or interstate. When you think of it, years ago, decades ago, it was very small scale; it might be several acres. Now we are talking up to 1,000 acres of one crop. For instance, I will never forget seeing—and I know it is not in this state—1,000 acres of tomatoes grown in raised beds near Deniliquin. That is serious. The Italian family running it had their own packing shed, and that was quite a novel experience going through that as well. They were doing it from paddock to plate, essentially, the whole produce.

Very similar things happen here and right across the state. We have produce that has been grown in many areas around the north, in Virginia and Angle Vale, the Pedericks' old stomping ground. In many areas we see a lot of new technology, like we see in the Virginia area and up at Port Augusta, with trellised tomatoes and other crops that really boost production. Then we see the more broadacre practices that happen out at places like Parilla potatoes, Zerella Fresh.

Also, throughout my electorate I have many growers involved in the broadacre production of potatoes, onions, carrots and other vegetables right across the board. This has essentially brought bulk practices to a game—and it is a very serious game—to something that 40 years ago would not have even been envisaged on this scale of mass production to keep up with the demands of an ever-growing economy, not just here but overseas, because a lot of this stuff can be exported and is. I take my hat off to the people who have been prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars of their own money in developing projects so that they can produce this food.

I look at Zerella Fresh, for instance, in the Mallee: to accommodate workers they build homes in both Pinnaroo and Lameroo, which is a boost to the regional economy, to make sure we can house workers. It is one of those sectors, a bit like the food processing sector, where we absolutely rely on migrant workers to come in. We saw that during COVID, where we got Pacific Islanders in for various food processing sectors. But right across the board we are absolutely reliant on migrants coming in on various visas to make sure that we can have this production right across the board.

At the other end of it, obviously, are the produce markets, and they are so well set up. I have been around a couple of days. I can remember the East End produce markets; not everyone in here would. That was a magnificent place. It is totally different now down there. You are more likely to be able to go down for a beer than buy a carrot. It was quite a novel place back in the day. If you look at it compared to what we have got set up out of the markets there at Pooraka, it was quite niche.

In fact, a friend of mine, Paul Simmons, who is now the Mayor of Coorong: his family had a—I will call it a chocolate shop. They sold a whole range of bulk sweets. I think it was pretty handy that he had that shop for a while. They did quite well with a whole range of things—really more niche things like chocolates and other confectionery but other things as well: they sold a lot of seeds and that sort of thing. But, obviously, that disappeared with the market moving out to Pooraka.

So Pooraka will service this state and this country for many more years to come, as it does service the growers. More and more it is getting to I guess in a way what happens in farming: you get fewer growers at times, because it becomes more of a bulk commodity. But they do, as I have emphasised, have to employ many people just to get the process done. While there are robots and other machines in the packing sheds, it still needs people to do the preparation of ground, the sowing, the caring for products as they are grown in the soil, and then the harvest and the packing.

Then it gets through to the packing sheds and to the end result of the produce markets, which are truly top class. I applaud them for putting this technology in place with all the other partners. The more we can do to protect our valuable horticulture sector the better.

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