Northern Star Casino Beef Week 2000
Mr GEORGE (Lismore) [6.02 p.m.]: Although my electorate has problems similar to other electorates, tonight I want to tell the House about a good news story of which I am very proud. I am pleased that the Minister for Small Business, and Minister for Tourism is in the Chamber. I speak about Casino, the true beef capital of Australia, and the recent successful Northern Star Casino Beef Week, which was formerly the Casino Beef Week Festival. In the week prior to the festival, the Northern Star Casino Beef Week 2000 had been awarded a major local tourism award. The festival won the award for significant regional festivals and events at the Northern Rivers Tropical New South Wales Awards for Excellence in Tourism at Tweed Heads. The award was one of 16 sponsored by the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board.
The Mayor of Richmond Valley Council, Col Sullivan, a past president of Casino Beef Week said the award recognised the contribution played by Beef Week in attracting tourism to the region. The chairman of the finalists' judging panel, Mr Ron Beeldman, who co-ordinated the judging on behalf of the Tourism Council of Australia, said the standard of entries from the Northern Rivers was exceptionally high. Each year the Northern Star Beef Week is recognised as a major festival, not only in the Northern Rivers region but throughout the eastern States. This year's festival was officially opened by the Mayor of the newly formed Richmond Valley Council, Mr Col Sullivan. At the event candidates for Beef Week Queen were presented and this year's winner, Ms Fiona Mills, representing the Brahman breeders, was announced.
Casino's shops, nursing homes, schools and even the police station were involved in the window decorating competition. Also on the program were the Beef Week Show and Shine for hot rods and street machines, a fully guided heritage walk around Casino and the Northern Rivers Railroad Adventure Tour. There were displays of some of Australia's best stud beef cattle and led steers, an impressive draught horse and horse-drawn vehicle parade, national cattle dog trials, commercial float parade and a fashion spectacular as well as the Beef Week breakfast, a talent quest, wood chopping, rodeo, beef education sessions for schools, and a country bus tour. There were a number of special events especially for younger folk.
There was the family day at the Showground on the Sunday; a secondary schools battle of the bands with $1,000 prize money; a whip cracking competition, a mini and junior stockman and stock lady competition, fancy dress parade, and performances by none other than the veterinarian, Dr Harry Cooper from Channel 7 whose show is on Sunday evening. The Casino Racing Club sponsored the Northern Rivers Railroad Beef Week Cup. There was plenty to see during Beef Week but this year the event made the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, thanks to Linda Doherty, who is often seen in the Press Gallery at Parliament House. She visited Beef Week and was impressed. She wrote an article which appeared on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald . Mr Michael Thomson wrote in the Northern Star:
The festival, of which I am very proud, deserves to be recognised. That might sound parochial, but I started the festival 19 years ago and was the chairman for eight years. Casino and the industry needs the injection of the festival. The community, the Beef Week Committee—which has too many members to name,—sponsors, industry, exhibitors and community service clubs, police, State Emergency Service, the council and the Rural Fire Service combined their resources to make the festival such a great success and I congratulate them.
The ears of the world were tuned to Casino yesterday [Sunday], eager to find out what drew more than 20, 000 people to the streets of the "beef capital" on Saturday.
BBC radio's world news service turned its attention to The Northern Star Casino Beef Week after learning of the annual festival …
Beef Week Queen Fiona Mills … told listeners from dozens of countries how the 12-day festival reached a climax at Saturday's Grand Parade.
Ms NORI (Port Jackson—Minister for Small Business, and Minister for Tourism) [6.07 p.m.]: It is a pleasure to respond to the contribution of the honourable member for Lismore. I have had the privilege of attending some of the official functions during Casino Beef Week, as it was called when I attended a couple of years ago. It is now called the Northern Star Casino Beef Week. Everything the honourable member said it is absolutely true. The Grand Parade is fantastic, and I remember the whip cracking. I also attended one or two other official functions. I was pleased to hear the honourable member talk up Beef Week because regional tourism is important for a place like Casino; it keeps the local economy going. The honourable member will be pleased to know that the part of the world from which he comes, which includes Casino, gets 8 per cent of all international visitor nights in New South Wales. That is a healthy statistic for him.
Mr George: I want 100 per cent of the funds though!
Ms NORI: It does not quite work like that. I have just done the Pacific coast touring route. Within one hour of its being advertised in Brisbane, 300 telephone calls were received. If the South Coast touring route is anything to go by, thousands and thousands will travel to the beautiful part of the world in the honourable member's electorate. People should have the pleasure of experiencing it and that is why, for a number of years, the Government has supported many events in that region which encourage tourist visits. I refer to the triennial funding for the Plantation Sculpture Show, various Rainforest Weeks which the Government has supported and the Grafton Rowing Festival. Casino and other towns down the coast will benefit greatly from the Tweed Gateway project as it goes ahead. I look forward to an invitation next year.