OYSTERS are on the menu thanks to our government's tropical rock oyster project. The initiative is working to establish commercial black lip rock oyster farming in remote communities to provide jobs.
Thousands of juvenile oysters will be sent to Warruwi on South Goulbourn Island and Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Islands for further research. This is great work from my departmental staff at the Darwin Aquaculture Centre.
Last year, remote communities consumed $60,000 of New Zealand oysters in just six months. I want NT oysters to take their place through a sustainable economic enterprise.
Bush foods can also create jobs in remote communities. Demand is on the rise, and I recently attended the Growing the Grower workshop in Alice Springs, sponsored by the NT Government. Traditional harvesters and traders gathered together to discuss how to grow the industry.
Congratulations to NT business Rum Jungle Organics near Batchelor, which won the 2018 Biosecurity Producer of the Year award at the Australian Biosecurity Awards in Canberra.
This is a huge achievement for a small local producer, and recognition for their exceptional biosecurity practices. I congratulate owners Alan Petersen and Julie-Ann Murphy and thank them for their help in fighting banana freckle.
The Territory is on track for banana freckle freedom, with Phase 4 of the National Banana Freckle Eradication Program under way. If these final tests come back clear, we will apply for our Proof of Freedom. If granted, this will show the NT is free from banana freckle.
Territorians have been able to buy and grow banana plants without a permit since July last year, but we ask everyone to remain alert. If you suspect you have banana freckle on your property, call the Banana Freckle Hotline on 1800771163.
Finally, congratulations to the three NT Rural Women's Award finalists. The awards recognise the huge contribution women make to our rural communities, and Linda Blackwood from Katherine, Amber Driver from Elkedra Station in Alice Springs and Annette Howie from the Douglas Daly region are kicking goals in the rural arena. I hope one of them wins the national award in Canberra later this month.
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