Keith Pitt MP Federal Member for HINKLER

Constituency Statement - Hervey Bay Seafood Festival and Oceanfest

Mr PITT (Hinkler) (10:03): I rise to talk about the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on 12 August. It is Australia's biggest seafood picnic at Fishermen's Park in Urangan, and once again it was a fantastic day with a fantastic turnout.

The festival was organised by the commercial fishing families and friends from the local community. Hervey Bay Seafood Inc. was formed in 1998 to promote the local wild-catch seafood and create awareness of the role of commercial fishing in coastal communities. Stalwarts such as Nick Schulz and Steve Murphy have been there from the beginning.

At the festival, the promotional brand, the Wide Bay Wild Catch, was launched. It's not the 'Wide Bay Wildcats', it's the Wide Bay Wild Catch. Deputy Speaker Vamvakinou, I'm sure you would have heard of things like Hervey Bay scallops and, of course, barramundi from right around the country. Whether it's mangrove jack or red emperor, it's fantastic on your plate. It's caught locally and it provides jobs for local fishermen and, of course, people who work in the seafood-processing industry.

The Wide Bay Wild Catch brand is designed to tell the story of seafood from the region, and that is from Gympie to Bundaberg. It is renowned for its seafood. The Wide Bay Wild Catch will enable consumers to identify the businesses that are selling local wild catch, as well as restaurants and eateries that are actually serving our local product.

Once again, whether it's scallops, prawns or the fighting whiting—or our famous red emperor—it is all fantastic. The seafood festival, of course, is part of the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, which includes the annual blessing of the fleet, signifying the start of the whale-watching season. If you want to see whales in Australia, Hervey Bay is the best spot to do that. It's where they come to rest between July and November. Thousands of humpback whales travel the humpback highway and arrive in the calm, protected waters of Hervey Bay.

On Saturday, 25 August, in the northern part of the electorate, at the Bundaberg Port Marina is Oceanfest. We love our seafood. We love our oceans. It's all about promoting the local region, which provides jobs in the local area. It is hosted by the Rotary Club of Bundaberg Sunrise. I acknowledge Stephen Bennett, the member for Burnett, who's a strong part of that local Rotary club. This event promotes the local wild-caught seafood as well, harvested from the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef and Bundaberg waters. Locally there it's a gentleman by the name of Peter Packman, who started off in the local Bundaberg marina. It's a wonderful part to visit. They've got things like spanner crabs, local blue claw and mud crabs—you can get anything you think of in terms of seafood from our local region.

It's fantastic to be involved with those types of events. It is certainly a good opportunity for every Australian to get out into regional Australia, to get to regional Queensland. Come to our local areas, eat our local produce, talk to our local people, use local hotels, go down to the local shops and have a cup of coffee on the water at Burnett Heads. Congratulations to everyone involved. I look forward to seeing more of them there.

Authorised by Keith Pitt, Federal Member for Hinkler, 41b Woongarra Street, Bundaberg QLD 4670

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