On the 25th March we returned for our eighth event in nine years. Since 2013 we have run an annual event in the city, with the one exception understandably in 2020 due to COVID-19. The following address was presented by Farming Champions Chair, Nicola Kelliher.

Thank you to Dan Barnes for outlining the wonderful scholarship opportunity offered by Wesley College. And thank you to Gail Wynne and the Moorditj Mob for the beautiful Welcome to Country.

It’s fantastic to have so many people here to share the connection to the land with the Whadjuk Nyoongar people, who we acknowledge as traditional custodians of the land where we gather today. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to life of this city and this region.

We are also here today to celebrate the connection farming families have to the land, and the passion they display in creating the premium produce that Australia is becoming globally-renowned for.

So, welcome to you all. I’d like formally welcome:
The Hon Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia
Mr Ralph Addis, Director General for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Mr Liam O’Connell, Executive Officer of Agri-Business Food and Trade DPIRD
Hon Mia Davies, Leader of the National Party (WA Leader of the Opposition)
Mr David Thomas, and his wife Sharron, David is the President of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia
Rose Crane, on behalf of Hon Melissa Price, Federal Minister of Defence Industry and Member for Durack
Mr John Hassell, incoming President of WA Farmers

Apologies for this opening ceremony is Hon Alannah MacTiernan, Minister for Regional Development and Hydrogen Power, she is unable to attend due to added commitments following her re-election, and will be here later in the day.

Apologies for the day:
The Hon Mark McGowan MLA, Premier of Western Australia
The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of Perth, Basil Zempilas
Hon Darren West MLC, Member for the Agricultural Region
Hon Rick Wilson, Member for O’Connor
Hon Peter Rundell, Member for Roe

Thank you all for supporting Farming Champions and our event today, Farmer On Your Plate.

What we have here, as you Walk, Talk, and Taste the Regions, is a unique event that showcases the farming families who provide the food and fibre for our state, our nation, and to international markets.

We are grateful to the people of Perth who have come here to experience a small sample of what the state has to offer. And we thank the City Of Perth for the sponsorship by providing this venue which gives us an excellent platform to showcase this message. The innovations and resourcefulness of our producers display the passion that is required to build a strong future in agriculture, and especially reinforcing the otherwise unseen value of individual families who contribute to the whole of our state.

It’s important for these magnificent small businesses to have the opportunity to be seen. They are the backbone of our country and provide not only world-class commodities, but a tangible spirit and community drive.

So today is your chance to meet a farmer, maybe for the first time, and make a direct connection between your farmer to your plate.

Education about agriculture starts in childhood. Most baby’s rooms are adorned with cute baby farm animal pictures and ornaments, but formal agricultural education doesn’t enter the school curriculum until Year 10. So I’d like to thank the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia for sponsoring Nigel’s Farm Nursery so that the children can make the finer connections to the role that agriculture plays in their life.

I’d also like to thank CountryWide Insurance for generously providing our insurance for today, and the Loose Leaf Lettuce Company for their continued support over the years. The long lasting relationships we have built is integral to the growing success of this event.

A lot has changed in the last year, it’s really bought a new focus on buying local. And thanks to our sponsor Buy West Eat Best, you are able to do that quite easily through looking for the green Western Australia logo on your food products. But what does it mean to buy local?

If you live in Perth, Carnarvon, at 900km away, does not feel very local; however, if you want some local sweet bananas, they are the most local to you in proximity compared to the rest of our country.

And when you buy honey, the honey bees are used as part of the pollination process for every crop. By ensuring you buy West Australian honey, you will protect Australia from biosecurity risks as you are supporting healthy hives for a healthy country.
And in the morning, when you buy your special fair trade coffee at the coffee shop, do you stop and ask yourself, is this local milk fair trade?

If we decide to make a deliberate choice to buy just one item that’s local, and in season, we collectively take one step forwards to protecting the integrity of our food supply.

Thank you for being here today, to Perth locals and Regional cousins, for sharing this rare opportunity to take a big step forward – together.

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