Local, Independant and Effective

Kiewa Valley Visit

Posted March 07, 2014

 

My visit to the Kiewa Valley was the first of my ‘Valley Visits’ I have planned to communities in Indi over the next three years and I hope future conversations will be just as rich, varied and fruitful as they were on January 28 this year. 

My visit to the Kiewa Valley was the first of my ‘Valley Visits’ I have planned to communities in Indi over the next three years and I hope future conversations will be just as rich, varied and fruitful as they were on January 28 this year.

This first visit is part of my election commitment: to listen to communities and communicate issues, to help plan community objectives and goals, to enable action in Canberra, and to empower people to plan and produce answers to problems and seek solutions from government to achieve positive outcomes.

Seventy residents met at four locations: Dederang and Running Creek (with other valley residents) for breakfast, Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project members in Gundowring, locals at the Mount Beauty Bakery and Arby’s Place in Tawonga (and there was a quick stop at the Mount Beauty Visitors Centre, as well.)

The level of engagement and willingness shown by locals to discuss the issues important to people in the valley was overwhelming.

By visit’s end, it was clear there is need for ongoing action on agriculture, mobile phone ‘black spots’, listening to and empowering youth, NBN, education, trains, mental health, refugees, water and ABC reception.

Improved mobile phone coverage and broadband have been top priorities for me since being elected, so I appreciated the feedback I received on these issues.

Information provided was incorporated into my submission for the Federal Government’s Mobile Coverage Programme, funding from which will be vital if ‘black spots’ in the Kiewa Valley are to be removed.

I took the opportunity to press the Government on the ‘black spot’ problem when I presented a petition in Parliament on February 27 for the people of the Tatong, Lurg, Samaria and Molyullah part of Indi.

While I welcomed the $100 million Coalition Government commitment to help create the infrastructure needed to help solve this problem, I called on the Government to commit more funding to help mitigate ‘black spots’ and improve coverage in rural areas.

Agriculture was also talked about at length during the visit. With thirteen per cent of Indi linked to agriculture and agriculture manufacturing, getting a plan in place is critical for farming operations to grow, thrive and prosper, especially in the Kiewa Valley where agriculture is ideally suited.

I’m grateful to Ann Jarvis for offering to co-ordinate input from the Kiewa Valley community for a submission to the Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness Paper.

As part of this process, I am preparing a submission which will guide the development of the White Paper, and will focus on education and training for young farmers.

In closing, I thank Di Goonan for hosting the breakfast meeting at St Albans Hall (and Ross Packham for showing off his exceptional barista skills); Cathy Bucolo for catering at Arby’s Place; and the Mount Beauty Bakery for use of their restaurant at short notice.

The warm reception and optimism I experienced at each venue, and the strong sense of community engagement, reinforced my belief the people of Indi can get results. 

You can find more details on these issues, including video and Hansard transcripts of my Parliamentary speeches relating to them, on my revamped website, which has been created to give visitors every opportunity to connect with me and provide feedback on all the issues.

So please let me know your thoughts on the new-look site, which is still at the same address, www.cathymcgowan.com.au, or phone my office on 1300 131 791.  


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.