Statements By Senators

2 August 2023

Senator White really inspired me today. I have a very similar speech about the fantastic study tour that a group of us, including Senator Rice and a number of others from the coalition—including Senator Perin Davey and Senator McLachlan—went on, which was organised by the NFF and AFPA. The tour was led by none other than Joel Fitzgibbon, the former minister of agriculture and defence. It was really great to see some old friends take us out to western Victoria. If anyone is listening, I do encourage you to head down to western Victoria, a very prime place for tourism and also for agriculture, as we all know. The group of parliamentarians from right across the political spectrum went to visit Jigsaw Farms, which is about 15 kilometre north of Hamilton. The family property—managed by Mark Wootton and his wife, Eve—is a leading farm forestry operation that is incorporating eucalyptus tree production alongside traditional red meat production.

Mark was part of Australia’s delegation to the United Nations climate change conference, COP27, last year. During COP27 he took part in an event, alongside the Australian Forest Products Association and the National Farmers Federation, where he highlighted how his farm was an example of how agriculture and forestry are an essential part of the solution to climate change. Who would have thought of environmentalists and capitalists working together to benefit not just the environment but also our economy? Mark highlighted how his farm is a prime example of how we can all work together and how about 20 per cent of his farm was converted to trees—half for farm forestry and the other half for biodiversity. This has allowed him to carry a great number of livestock, thanks to the shelter provided by his trees. In fact, from my understanding, there were 700 calves, 700 breeding cattle and over 22,000 lambs on his farm. I took great interest in Jigsaw Farms as a case study. I want to say thanks to Mark and Eve, to AFPA and NFF for hosting us. It really shows how agriculture and forestry can work together and are essential allies in the fight against climate change.