Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:38): It gives me great pleasure to talk about things that are happening in Chaffey during spring, and what better to talk about than some of the flower and rose festivals that have graced the regions over recent times.
It is great to talk about a couple of those great institutions, such as the Waikerie and Districts Community Flower Show. It is the 40th Waikerie and Districts Community Flower Show, and I was very honoured to be there for the opening and to talk and interact with some of the local gardeners. Obviously it has been a very challenging year for anyone who is a gardener or a flower lover with the inclement weather and just a strange year.
The Waikerie flower show runs in conjunction with the Riverland Rose and Garden Festival. Glennis Crawford, who is a stalwart of that institution, is ably assisted by Chris, Barb, Marg, Peter, Sharon, and Alison Smith. I want to pay particular tribute to Alison, who has been the patron of the flower show for many years and is an avid gardener.
Many people in this chamber would understand that the Riverland is the best place in the state to grow flowers, to grow roses, because of its warm and dry weather. The difficult season did not hinder any of these passionate persistent gardeners, who put all their efforts into this flower show that gives us an opportunity to have a look at some of the great cut flowers, roses, the Australian native category, potted flowers, floral art, children's exhibits and floral photography.
On the back of that, it was also great to attend the opening of the Riverland Rose and Garden Festival, previously the Renmark Rose Festival. It has really hit its straps, I must say, and has a great committee. It is now supported by not only local South Australians but international people who come to visit this rose festival, which is great to see. It gives the Riverland another opportunity to showcase what we do so well up there and what we saw through the opening of the festival and this year's ongoing showcase.
It coincided with the 2022 World Federation of Rose Societies' World Rose Convention, with the President of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Henrianne de Briey, a French lady who was very knowledgeable, in attendance to officially open the festival. The festival runs for 10 days and has grown into an iconic event not only on the Riverland calendar. People come from far and wide to have a look at some of the dedicated gardens in our beautiful region. The Riverland is not only an asset for South Australia but its world reputation is an asset, as it does particularly roses so well.
Riverland towns obviously contribute to this festival. The festival is not only a celebration but also about providing a much clearer understanding of some of the new varieties and some of the new opportunities for those avid gardeners who wish to upgrade and put new varieties and new colours into their gardens. It is also a major boost for the Riverland economy. Obviously, accommodation has been booked out for many months, and what we see now is the event flowing into the local regional economy. Accommodation providers, all the shops, the food providers and the businesses benefiting from this festival are absolutely over the moon.
The event is run by volunteers. It has had a few issues over recent times with COVID restrictions, but I take my hat off to the committee, as they have risen to every challenge, particularly through COVID. There were 31 open gardens around the region. I want to thank the committee, which does an outstanding job: Richard Fewster, John Chappel, Amy Martinson, Frankie Dunhill, Michelle Dominic, Marg Howie, Lorna Taylor, Jovita Pannach, Murray Harvey, Anne Berriman and Glenda Cass.
I would also like to pay tribute to the Remark Club, which won Best Bar Environment and Best Function/Event Venue in the 2022 Clubs and Community Awards. In the Australian Hotel Association Awards, the Loxton Hotel won Best Redeveloped Hotel (Country) and Best Bar Presentation (Country) and was Best Gaming Venue runner-up. Congratulations to those community events and congratulations to both the Renmark Club and the Loxton Hotel. They do an outstanding job.