MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) — This week I attended my 11th Sheepvention in Hamilton, a fantastic western Victoria agricultural show and a cultural institution celebrating its 39th year. As ever, it was a great opportunity to meet constituents. Sheepvention incorporates the Hamilton and Western District Sheep Show, Suffolk being this year’s feature breed. Diversity — around 1000 sheep exhibited this year — is an ongoing theme, with merinos and representation from heritage breeds, the prime lamb breeds, dual-purpose breeds and indeed wool breeds. The pen of five rams sale system draws sellers and buyers from all over Australia, all great evidence of the health of Victoria’s rural economy. Walking through the showgrounds yesterday you could see the innovation and the confidence we have in rural industries, and 25 000 people are expected to have gone through the turnstiles yesterday and today.
What stood out for me the most yesterday was the number of people who went into a pavilion that had a bulk-billed skin testing service. This was a fantastic service, particularly for farmers and others in the agricultural sector who spend a lot of time outdoors. Before 11 o’clock yesterday I understand eight people had been diagnosed with melanoma at Sheepvention, and many other additional specimens had been sent for testing. I applaud the proactive efforts and encourage farmers and others in regional Victoria to check on their skin health. I encourage them to go to their doctor or take up this offer at various field days and agricultural shows over our state in the coming months.