More than just grapes
THE Granite Belt may be known for apples and grapes but member for the Southern Downs James Lister wants to show Queensland just how diverse, attractive and productive the region is.
Local businesses had the opportunity show off to state leaders at a showcase in Parliament House on Tuesday night.
"We have so much to offer in the Southern Downs, and our community groups and businesses didn't let us down," Mr Lister said.
"We had hospitality students from Stanthorpe State High School there to help with the food and drink service, which was great.
"Stanthorpe State High School's relationship with the Queensland College of Wine Tourism is marvellous," Mr Lister said.
"I really value the state government's partnership with the University of Southern Queensland to keep QCWT going strong."
The event had representatives from tourism, manufacturing, horticultural, wool, wine, beef and food industries.
Minister for Agricultural, Industry and Development Mark Furner, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, State Opposition leader Deb Frecklington, Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie, Cr Vic Pennisi and Goondiwindi mayor Graeme Scheu all attended the evening.
Mr Lister thanked the ministers for taking the time to hear the needs of local businesses and community groups.
He also highlighted the importance of the Emu Swamp Irrigation Project which has bipartisan support.
"We're not just grapes and cattle," he said.
"We have world-class agricultural, manufacturing, training and tourism industries, awesome people and a wonderful landscape and climate.
"I have learned some lessons from this first run, and I hope to be able to put this great event on again next year.
"It would be great to come back bigger and better next time."