A week or two back the Brisbane Ekka was held.
It’s when the country comes to the city.
It was of course the right place for the launch of the Queensland Government’s Food and Beverage Supplier Directory.
Just as bringing the Parliament to Townsville - 17 years to the day after it was last held
Is also the right place and the right time.
I kicked off the directory earlier in the year with a function at Sirromet winery.
I am lucky that Sirromet – a Qld icon has its cellar door in my electorate, employing 75 full-time staff.
Today I launch it here in Townsville.
The decision to establish the directory was a simple one.
It supports our decision to require government agencies and authorities to do something quite simple also.
And that’s to choose Qld made food and beverages first.
Whether its at an event supported by taxpayer funded dollars,
Or in the delivery of front-line services like the Townsville hospital.
The rule, under the Palaszczuk Government is simple:
The rule is simple.
If you work for government, you work for Queenslanders.
So your job is to buy Queensland products first.
And we’re just getting started here in Townsville.
So far 9 Townsville businesses have applied to be local suppliers to Government.
In a few short months, 241 Queensland suppliers of food and beverages have applied to be on the directory.
And, of course, there is always room for more.
All about investing in Queensland jobs
Food and drinks are an important part of our lives, as you know.
Whether they help you recuperate from surgery.
Or you are enjoying a beer at a major event.
It should be Queensland produce, made by Queenslanders.
There are 2 parts to this story.
They are both about jobs for Queenslanders, and support for Queensland business.
The first is that last year the Queensland Government invested around $100 million on food and beverages.
That was funds invested to support the services Queenslanders rely on - our hospitals, our correctional centres.
Secondly, the food and beverage sector in Queensland, from retailing to cafes, restaurants and catering is worth about $59.89B
Our food and beverage product manufacturing is worth about $23.5B 
So that’s why we’ve also made the Directory available to the public.
The Food and Beverage Suppliers’ Directory is an expansion of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s Buy Queensland policy.
Through ‘Buy Queensland first’ we are investing in Queensland.
We are putting Queenslanders first – right where they deserve to be.
Because it means jobs - in Queensland, for Queenslanders - and that matters to all of us.
It’s about companies that employ Queenslanders while giving us great produce.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is all about boosting jobs, boosting the economy and protecting the jobs of Queenslanders.
Here in North Queensland we are pulling out all the stops to grow jobs and back business here in north Queensland:
All about Investing in Qld food & beverage suppliers
And its also about this:
Queenslanders are rightly proud of what our State produces:
Whether its cricketer Mitchell Jonshson;
Swimmer Libby Trickett;
Cowboys captain Michael Morgan.
And we are also proud of our growers and producers.
Here in North Queensland, we have what most believe is the best seafood in the world.
We are proud that just around the corner - the Port of Townsville, central to Australia’s beef and sugar export industries.
We are proud that we stopped the sell-off of the port,
We are proud that Queensland’s food exports will move to 22 per cent of the national total.
We are proud of north Queensland bananas mangoes and melons.
We are proud that Queensland exported, under our government have grown to $87B, an increase of $12.7B
That more than NSW and Victoria combined.
Important as export is, the Palaszczuk Government is also committed to boosting domestic consumption.
And under the Buy Qld procurement policy we will do that through the purchasing power of government and industry.
Under the Buy Queensland approach the Palaszczuk Government aims to ensure a simple outcome:
As much as we possibly can –
Every dollar invested by us stays right here in Queensland.
I mentioned earlier that last year the State invested around $100 million in food and beverages for our government services.
That equates to:
And I will not rest until all of that comes from a Queensland farmer.
Benefits of the Directory to Nth Qld business
So today, is about a few things:
Its about celebrating our capacity as a State to do great things;
Its about inviting you to be a part of this journey of change;
So can I urge you?
Can I invite you to join the food and beverage suppliers of Townsville that have already put their hand up to supply to government.
So why would a supplier want to register for the directory?
They are terrific incentives to be on it.
I’d now like to invite Shelley Grainger of Nourishing Bites here in Townsville to tell you about why she has applied to be on the Directory.
Shelley Grainger talks…
Thanks Shelley. You will see one of Shelley’s products - chocolate hazelnut truffle – on your tables to sample.
We all know about the “Australian Made” campaign.
Now we can go one better and Buy Queensland.
We have made the directory public so Queenslanders can now access it.
The private sector also is a significant purchaser of food and beverages and I call on large corporate buyers and organisations, such as the tourism sector, private hospitals and boarding schools to get on board.
Now I’d like to invite Clinton Huff, the Regional Procurement Champion on my Procurement Industry Advisory Group, and a board member at Townsville Chamber, to give you his thoughts on how the private sector can help build the local economy through its use of the Directory.
Clinton Huff talks…
Further to this, I call on all Queenslanders to back these companies by putting them at the top of their shopping lists.
Working with industry to make it happen
I would like to reinforce that this directory was industry’s suggestion and has been developed hand-in-hand with representatives from every part of the industry.
We have been advised on this journey by a committee of representatives.
I would like to acknowledge their work, their advice and their support.
They have volunteered their time to build a better Queensland.
This is just the first step of the journey.
From here, the next step is for more eligible suppliers, like you, to apply to join the directory.
Tomorrow morning – or even better, when you get home tonight – log on to qld.gov.au/buyqueensland and answer some simple questions.
You’ll then be on the way to joining us in further building Queensland’s food and beverage industry.
All about Queensland
The Buy Queensland policy is unashamedly pro-Queensland.
The Food and Beverage Suppliers’ Directory is unashamedly pro-Queensland business.
And by supporting Queensland businesses we are supporting jobs for Queenslanders.
So thank you to all suppliers who are on the directory and welcome to those here who will be applying.
 Source: DHPW and ABS
 Australian Food and Grocery Council
 Source: DHPW