Local, Independant and Effective

News from 117 Murphy Street - August 15, 2014

Posted August 15, 2014

 

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Food was on the menu on Monday for Cathy when she hosted the First Food Manufacturers ‘Working Lunch’ in Wangaratta. Small business operators from the North East gathered to discuss issues facing the sector, including transport and freight problems, red tape, and unrealistic food standards for small business. These manufacturers do value-adding exceptionally well and Cathy wants Indi to become renowned for quality food production.

This was the first of four meetings to be held across the electorate in Wodonga, Mansfield and Murrindindi Shire. The group will provide advice to Cathy and suggest how to solve the issues. The group will reconvene in 2015 and Cathy has suggested the possibility of holding a North East Food Manufacturers event in Canberra at some stage next year.

At the request of Benalla baker, Andrew Bertalli, and fighting for agriculture and manufacturing in Indi, Cathy has supported Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie’s push to have the government approve the production of industrial hemp for human consumption. The legalisation of industrial hemp will give agriculture and food producers a major boost as supply feeds demand.

In keeping with a goal to bolster agriculture and food production in the North East, Cathy is establishing the Indi agricultural reference group. This group will meet next month and CSIRO scientists, Dr Chris Downs and Professor Maurice Moloney, will give a presentation outlining opportunities in CSIRO to partner with industry. The ag reference group will identify ways for creating partnership opportunities between farmers, agricultural groups, researchers and business. Public forums with the CSIRO are also planned.   

On Thursday, telecommunications stakeholders gathered to discuss the ongoing mobile phone blackspot problems in Indi and the best way forward. Department of Communications, Optus, Vodafone and Telstra representatives gave overviews of future plans and responded positively to queries from council delegates keen to get mobile phone coverage improved in their areas. The priority now is to work towards preparing engineering reports for the priority sites in Indi in preparation for the Federal Government decision on whether the sites will be included in the $100 million Mobile Phone Coverage Programme. Twin Prism Consulting principal consultant Rob Carolane (pictured with Cathy) will take the lead on the Indi Blackspots program, under lead council Mansfield Shire.   

Cathy is a guest at the Cathedral College Debutante Ball tonight, and tomorrow she travels to Melbourne for the Australian Women in Agriculture AGM. Among Cathy’s busy schedule next week she will host the Argentinian Ambassador Pedro Villargo for a two-day tour of the North East. The visit will target trade opportunities in education, manufacturing and agriculture. Mr Del Gado is the second ambassador to come to Indi in the last three months.

Next week, the last of the Parliamentary winter break, Cathy has a full schedule, including the following activities:

  • Vietnams Veteran Day Services in Wodonga and Albury on Monday
  • Small Providers Health Forum and North East Health Meeting - Tuesday
  • Argentinian ambassador visit – Thursday, Friday
  • CWA Wodonga – 80th birthday - Friday