The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:09): Today, I rise to speak about a recent visit to the Riverland by members of the prestigious Great Wine Capitals global network. This is a world-renowned network of wine and industry leaders. I joined network members in the Riverland, including Napa Valley president, Clay Gregory; dean of the Wine and Spirits Academy at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux, Jacques-Olivier Pesme; and the general manager of the Monverde Wine Experience Hotel, Miguel Ribeiro from Portugal.
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:23): I would like to speak about a local event in Chaffey over the weekend and also thank the member for Light for his presence up there for the unveiling of the Italian migrants statue in the main street, in Vaughan Terrace, up at Berri. It was a cold, brisk Saturday morning, but it was a really good commemoration of some of the migrants who had moved into the Riverland over many years.
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:25): It gives me great pleasure today to rise and speak about an important initiative undertaken in the Riverland community that is having a positive impact and creating future leaders in the region.
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:23): It gives me great pleasure to get up on this side of the house to speak about one of life's luxuries; that is, to get back to the home electorate of Chaffey to experience some of the great attributes the electorate presents and also, obviously, some of the homecoming.
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.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:28): I am very proud to stand up and acknowledge the great work that Flinders University is presenting in the Riverland, and last Friday I was lucky enough to visit the Riverland General Hospital at Berri to witness the opening of the new simulation centre. Professor Jennene Greenhill, Director, Flinders Rural Health here in South Australia is a proud proponent of the simulation centre, which will enable students and clinicians to work in the Riverland General Hospital and maintain a state of clinical skills through artificially experiencing real-life situations.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:06): Today, I rise to voice the concerns of the Riverland community about the structural changes to legal services in the region and the severe impacts these decisions will have. Late last month, the state government announced a restructure of community legal services across the state and, sadly, the Riverland was hit the hardest. The Riverland Community Legal Service is based in Berri and provides a valuable service for those who cannot afford legal advice, particularly for issues which are often complex in nature and require face-to-face contact. It currently employs five staff and is a well-utilised service for the disadvantaged in our community. I am extremely concerned about these proposed changes.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:21): I proudly stand today to inform the house that a Riverland town, Barmera, has been named the nation's 2017 tidiest town—an outstanding achievement. On the weekend, at the Australian Tidy Towns Awards in Tasmania, Barmera won four of the six categories and the town was highly commended in a fifth category, before being announced the nation's overall winner and after receiving the 2016 Keep South Australia Beautiful winner.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:14): I would like to speak about a local event that I attended over the weekend, the Woolenook internment camp's 75th anniversary. It was a unique event on the great River Murray, north of Renmark. We all had to hop onto the PS Industry, one of the most famous paddle steamers on the River Murray in South Australia. It has always been regarded as the fastest paddle steamer in South Australia on the River Murray. In fact, most of the people who attended the anniversary of the internment camp travelled up on the PS Industry. It was an opportunity for me to unveil a plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of a historic site in the Riverland. It is a piece of Riverland history with a unique story that has not received as much attention as it deserves.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:27): I rise today to raise serious community concerns from the people in the Riverland about the future of Renmark Police Station. Renmark Police Station is operating on bare bones or on stand-by until there is an available patrol, and it is only open when particular patrols are not out on the beat. The Renmark-Paringa district is home to 9,000 people and the closest station is at Berri, which is about 20 minutes away.