Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:25): I rise today to speak about a busy month in the Riverland as thousands of tourists have flocked to the region to enjoy its wonderful hospitality. As we all know, spring is in the air, and what spring brings to the Riverland is roses, flowers and, of course, the Renmark Rose Festival, which is very popular. In its 23rd year, the event ran over 10 days in the Riverland, finishing last Sunday.
There was a range of events and attractions showcasing the region's gardens and local produce. There were 22 open gardens and 50 businesses directly part of that festival, with more than 10,000 people in attendance and over 2,500 from interstate and overseas. I officially opened the rose festival at the Jarrett Memorial Gardens under the banner of the major sponsors: the South Australian Tourism Commission, Renmark Paringa Council, Renmark Hotel and, fittingly in its 23rd year, the event was sponsored by the Twenty Third Street Distillery.
Well done to the rose festival committee: chairperson, Michael Schuetze; secretary, Chris Petersen; Treasurer, Allan Maddocks; and committee members Lorna, Richard, Val, Sindy, Sandy, Danika and Linda. The winner of the rose festival ambassador was Brittany Evans, a lovely young journalist at the ABC, who raised money at several events. Of course, there were four ambassadors, all of whom were great ambassadors for the rose festival. The floral arrangements at the Renmark Institute are always a worthy place to go and visit as well.
We also had the 15th Riverland Wine and Food Festival. It was fantastic to be part of the festival, where more than 2,000 people packed in to enjoy local hospitality, wine and food. Again, the committee behind the event did a great job to make it a fantastic event, and they were helped by the Berri District Youth Club and Destination Riverland. Some of our success stories in beverages and food were on offer, including Arrosto Coffee, Woolshed Brewery, Arnold Brothers, Caudo Vineyard, Banrock Station, Twenty Third Street Distillery, Dominic Wines, Jachmann Cider, Angove wines, Bassham Wines and Kingston Estate Wines. There was also Ricca Terra Farms, which has a great new brand of wine with great new varieties. We also had pop-up food stalls that gave us food and flavours from all over the world.
I attended the Relay for Life and supported that event this month. It has raised over $35,500 so far, with donations still being collected. More than 120 participants across 11 teams walked the 19 consecutive hours to raise money for the Cancer Council in South Australia. Barmera resident Grace Stidiford was the guest speaker and, following the event, she had to travel back to Adelaide for cancer treatment. She was a great ambassador.
I attended many other events in those weeks, including the 75th anniversary parade of the Australian Air Force Cadets, No. 603 Squadron at Berri with their banner launch. The Loxton Lutheran School held their Continental. Sadly, they endured a huge storm that went through, but they managed to carry on. The Riverland Community Ping-Pong-A-Thon raised money against child trafficking. There was also the Renmark High spring carnival and the opening of the Red Cross office in Berri. The Cobdogla Primary School centenary celebration was a fantastic event to show how well the community supports a very, very small school. I thank the Minister for Education for being a part of it. It really was a great celebration.
I also attended the GT Show and Shine, sponsored by Chris Sinko Ford, which is one of my favourite events of the year. I went to the unveiling of the honour roll at Karoonda to honour those who fought for our freedom. There was also the Waikerie and Districts Community Flower Show and the Riverland Farmers' Market. I also visited the Whistling Kite open day, and the Distillery Days came to town, which was a great event to bring people out to a festival. Of course, we cannot forget the national dahlia conference, which I opened, or the Riverland Orchid Festival. Well done to all those events.
The Riverside Estate lifestyle precinct opened the new common area, which really is a great destination for the over 55s to come up to the Riverland and be part of a community that has welcomed them with open arms. I congratulate the new owners of that precinct because it really will be a drawcard for people to come to the Riverland to enjoy the great weather, the great hospitality and the great lifestyle. It is just a great community.
Well done to the Riverland and the Mallee communities on a wonderful October, a month which certainly put a spring in our step. I would like to say that it just shows how the community comes together to make a region a wonderful place and a wonderful destination. It is going from strength to strength, and it is all supported by communities, and it is supported by what spring brings to the Riverland, and that is colour, flowers, hospitality, wine, food and fun.