By Leon Georgiou
NINE towns from the Limestone Coast have been nominated for the 2021 South Australian Agricultural Town of the Year awards.
Mount Gambier, Beachport, Coonawarra, Robe, Frances, Lucindale, Naracoorte, Bordertown and Tintanara were among the 59 towns that were nominated across the state.
Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin was pleased to see the Blue Lake city nominated, saying while the agriculture industry was primarily based outside of the city’s limits, the city itself had a symbiotic relationship with agriculture – being the regional centre that services the area.
“It’s a little bit tricky, isn’t it? Because we really don’t have agriculture in the city of Mount Gambier as such,” she said.
“[We] acknowledge that agriculture is carried out primarily in the District Council of Grant region.
“But, of course, this activity does contribute to the economy of Mount Gambier.”
The Naracoorte Lucindale Council area had three towns nominated for the award, with Mayor Erika Vickery highlighting the region’s strong connection to the agriculture sector.
“The area is a ‘pot of gold’ in its own right and home to a prosperous and vibrant rural economy,” she said.
“There’s the fertile green landscapes, bountiful with vineyards and lush farmland, creating richly-diverse agricultural offerings from cropping, sheep, beef, wool and more.”
Speaking more specifically to the towns nominated, Ms Vickery said Naracoorte’s unique blend of agriculture and tourism, which is focussed around the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves, “ticked all the boxes for Ag Town of the Year.”
She also pointed out that Frances, which sits along the Victorian border, was a valuable receiving point for grain and that its multiple silos were town landmarks.
Wattle Range Council chief executive Ben Gower tipped that “Coonawarra should do quite well”, given the renowned wine that is produced in the region, as well as other primary produce enterprises.
And while some might assume Robe has little connection to agriculture, Robe Mayor Alison Nunan said this was not the case.
“Robe has always been thought of as a tourism town, which is fabulous,” she said.
“However, we have a wide range of other industries in our district including viticulture and wine making, horticulture, aquaculture, boutique dairies, primary production – which encompasses beef and lamb production as well as cropping – crayfishing, and forestry.”
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said the award – which is currently in its third year – helps recognise South Australian towns that are excelling in agriculture.
“I’m proud this award throws the spotlight on our regions and demonstrates the best of agricultural towns in South Australia,” he said.
“The award recognises the importance of agriculture in South Australia and the positive economic impact the entire supply chain has on a township and its community.”
And even if Robe doesn’t win, Ms Nunan felt that the contest itself was a great way of showcasing the numerous rural towns across the state.
Voting will close on Thursday September 2 at 5pm.
The top five towns across the state that have received the most votes, will be announced as the 2021 Agricultural Town of the Year Finalists.
A panel of judges will visit each of the finalist towns before announcing the winner at the Regional Showcase Awards – to be held on Friday, November 19 at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre in Hahndorf.
SUPPORT OUR REGION – Visit https://solsticemedia.com.au/south-australian-agricultural-town-of-the-year-award/ to vote.