Ted O’Brien’s February Column as it appeared in the Sunshine Valley Gazette
I recently upped the ante on my seasonal road trips through Fairfax by taking a fully staffed mobile office with me. The response was very positive, with my one-on-one meetings booked out and plenty of people dropping by for a chat. Having staff and computers on site meant we could offer immediate responses to people’s queries and log information for follow ups. I have more road trips planned for this year so swing by if you want your issues heard without having to travel to my Maroochydore office.
On the topic of food, new country of origin food labels will be mandatory in Australia on July 1. Sunshine Coast producers and consumers had a direct impact on the changes during the consultation process which included forums and stalls at local markets. When you pick up a product from July, you will know straight away whether the food was grown, produced or made in Australia as well as what proportion of ingredients. The logo is a triangle and kangaroo plus a summary statement such as “Made in Australia from at least 80% Australian ingredients”.
Still on food, growers in the Sunshine Coast hinterland may be interested in the overseas demand for organic food. Countries like the US, UK and France are emerging as lucrative export markets, with organic food sales expected to grow three times faster than overall food sales. The federal government is looking at improving Australia’s access to those markets and you can have your say before February 23 at https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/organic-orders-review.
As always, please contact my office with any concerns or queries on 5479 2800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org