Turf Queensland and the professionalism of the turf production industry in this state was introduced to Parliament at Question Time through the Shadow Minister for Agriculture Andrew Cripps MP, member for Hinchinbrook and Ian Rickess MP the member for Lockyer. The comments made by both were extremely positive.
Mr CRIPPS (Hinchinbrook—LNP) (3.03 pm): A recent report by DEEDI indicates that the lifestyle horticulture industry in Queensland has an estimated annual turnover of just under $4.4 billion and employs 28,000 people who earn over $625 million in wages. Within the lifestyle horticulture sector, turf 27 Oct 2011 Private Members’ Statements 3515 production accounts for just under $160 million and directly employs 1,500 Queenslanders earning more than $25 million in wages.
The turf industry in Queensland has been well established for some time. Almost half of all the businesses engaged in the production of turf have been operating for more than 10 years. Overwhelmingly, turf producers are small businesses. The DEEDI report indicates that, on average, 87 per cent of the total sales of a turf production business are within 100 kilometres of where their business is located, while less than one per cent is sold interstate. It is a Queensland based industry that grows turf for Queenslanders.
Turf Queensland is the peak industry body representing turf producers in Queensland. It has been working particularly hard in recent years to improve the quality and the reputation of the turf industry in this state. It has developed and promoted a voluntary turf accreditation process for turf producers. Businesses are assessed independently by a third party, allowing turf producers to identify themselves as sustainable producers of a top-grade product. The turf accreditation process sets high standards for the sustainable use of land and water for the production of turf. Using an accredited turf producer minimises the risk to consumers when purchasing turf for everything from a backyard job to a major commercial project and ensures customers are purchasing a quality product that is environmentally friendly. I would like to compliment the turf industry and turf producers for proactively developing the turf accreditation process for what is a growing Queensland industry.
Turf Industry Mr RICKUSS (Lockyer—LNP) (3.07 pm): I rise to say a few words about the turf industry. I would like to acknowledge Jim Vaughan, the chief executive officer of Turf Queensland who is in the public gallery at the moment. I must congratulate Turf Queensland. I was involved in the meeting with CEO Jim Vaughan, president John Keliher and board member Greg Banff when discussing the turf accreditation process, known as TAP. This is part of a process that will ensure we will have a sustainable, long-term turf industry into the future.
As with all types of accreditation, not only does it provide confidence and credibility to the turf industry; it also imposes some costs for third-party accreditation and auditing and improved recordkeeping. Customers of TAP approved turf suppliers are receiving a better product that is quality assured in its production method and the variety and grade of turf they are receiving. They can be assured that the information and products they will be receiving are appropriate for the job at hand. Customers can be assured that the turf they receive is produced to the highest environmental standard, that workplace health and safety has been well managed in the production of the turf, that the water and irrigation systems are of the highest standard and that soil health is maintained and improved. 3516 Private Members’ Statements 27 Oct 2011 Does it cost more to use TAP turf supplies? Do TAP turf suppliers get priority for supplying state and local government contracts? These questions need to be asked and answered. Quality and confidence in a product does deserve to be fairly remunerated. I am calling on local and state governments to implement quality assurance in their procurement of turf supplies for projects. This will mean they should be having discussions with Turf Queensland and using TAP turf growers. What will it cost? The government will receive the best product for the project and will have confidence that the turf has been produced to the best industry standards. Governments and turf users in general will be able to assure the community that the turf job is being done to the appropriate standards. I encourage anyone wishing to use turf to use TAP approved growers. TAP growers will ensure the turf you get is right for the job and has been grown for the benefit of the community