Grievance Debate - Chaffey

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (16:27): It gives me pleasure to talk about some of the happenings in Chaffey over the last week—some of it good and some of it not so good, but first and foremost I mention the Riverland Auto Street Party celebrating Barmera's centenary. It was also celebrating 100 years of the automobile in Barmera.

On the weekend, there were over 220 vehicles on display. Some of those vehicles were from the past and some of them were present, but the auto street party was just a great example of what we had 100 years ago and what we have in the current day.

I was also invited to choose the MP’s car of the street party award, and I chose a 64 Mustang. It was a beautiful silver car, absolutely original but in perfect condition. Also, the people's choice winner went to a modified FJ Holden, and we all know that it was one of the first Holdens made.

What was really interesting about the day was that we had 100 years of motoring. We had not only a 1921 T model Ford on display but also a 2021 Ford GT Mustang. It was just an outstanding display of automobiles and how they had advanced in the last 100 years. It was great to see that it was done in great spirit to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. They raised $2½ thousand, so good on them. We all know that the RFDS is a vital service for regional areas. They are currently flying twice daily into the Riverland to assist local patients. I would also like to thank Graham Matthews, the Riverland Custom and Classics club and also the Riverside Rodders for organising the event, and thank you to all of those who took part in a great day.

Sadly, at the end of the day they were interrupted by storms. I want to thank the people of the Riverland for their resilience shown over the past couple of weeks during recent damaging storms. To date, the estimated storm damage in the electorate is more than $100 million, a significant dent in the local economy. I have been working with the Minister for Primary Industries, local government and the federal government to provide a level of support, a support package for our farmers and growers who have been impacted by the storm.

In our region, we have experienced heavy crop damage, livestock deaths, significant damage to equipment and homes from heavy winds and very large hail that dropped. Again, our community has banded together, not only working through the financial loss but also dealing with the rebuild, in some instances, particularly on those tree crops and dryland farms impacted by the first storm. Sadly, the second storm came around the back of Barmera and really took a heavy toll on a number of vineyards. The FaB Scouts, Rural Business Support and PIRSA are out there assessing the damage for help.

Last Thursday, at 11am on 11 November I was honoured to lay a wreath at the RSL Waikerie sub-branch. It was very cold, very wet. We had the service inside the RSL club, but I did manage to lay a wreath, which was great. I also want to touch on a really good event that happened on Saturday night. It was a tremendous evening at the Paruna General Store & Tavern shearing competition organised by Ann Marie and Dino, the owners of the tavern. It was a community fundraiser, with all proceeds going again to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Over $3,300 was raised on the night for the RFDS. It was a great environment. A lot of farmers were impacted by storms.

We had shearing competitions. Teams of four took part in eating a cold pie, drinking a warm beer, riding a bike, driving to the shearing stand and a shearer coming on the back of it. The winner of the sheep shearing trial was Reece Erickson and the runner-up was Lachie Patterson. Reece's team from Murray Bridge also managed to take out the winner of the pie, beer and shearing competition. It was a great part of the Browns Well and Paruna community coming together, supporting each other, given the rough weeks they have endured. That area in the electorate has experienced significant loss.

I really want to thank Ann Marie and Dino for hosting a great evening. They do a fantastic job in supporting the area and have breathed life back into the community with their tavern. If anyone is travelling along the Browns Well Highway, please drop in. The speed limit is back to 110 km/h. We have upgraded the highway, and it is now safe and back at the proper speed limit. Those people have shown huge gratitude because we have gone out into the regions, fixed up the roads and made them safe so that they can achieve productivity gains.

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