Local, Independant and Effective

News from 117 Murphy Street - August 22, 2014

Posted August 22, 2014


cropped_ambassador_visit_August_22_2014.jpg Targeting trade between Argentina and manufacturing businesses, and showcasing the world-class products and goods manufactured in the North East has been the highlight of the Cathy’s week. 

Argentinian Ambassador Pedro Villagra Delgado arrived yesterday to look at trade and investment opportunities with businesses and organisations in Indi. The Independent Member for Indi and Mr Delgado dined with Wodonga councillors and staff, and then met with La Trobe University Wodonga Head of Campus, Dr Guinever Threlkeld (pictured).

Argentina has a very similar agriculture industry to Australia and Mr Delgado said the Wodonga campus would be an ideal place for Argentinian post-graduates wanting to further their education. Dr Threlkeld explained how the university was starting an agribusiness course in 2015 and this might appeal to students from South America. Mr Delgado agreed there were possible opportunities to create links, particularly in the agricultural research area. Cathy said it was important to create strong educational facilities in the North East to help position ourselves for the future and to help grow our communities.  

Wilson Transfomer Company general manager Jon Retford gave Cathy and Mr Delgado an extensive tour of the Wodonga factory yesterday afternoon. Mr Retford outlined his business philosophy which helped resurrect the business in the late 1990s. He said the key strengths of the business were good people, good designers, good manufacturing processes, good supply chain and good purchasers. Wilson Transformer has entered joint partnerships with Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and is looking for new markets to continue its growth strategy.

This morning Cathy and Mr Delgado were given a tour of Myrtleford Butter Factory and shown how the business’s award-winning butter is produced on site before being served a delicious breakfast. To conclude the Indi visit, Mr Delgado was given a tour of Australian Textile Mills. The company was eager to show the Argentinian Ambassador the Cool Blind product which has attracted plenty of attention from overseas buyers. Wrapping up his visit to Indi, Mr Delgado said there was great potential for growth and linking into opportunities in education and manufacturing. He described Indi as a beautiful and interesting electorate and the access he was afforded at businesses would not occur without being hosted by the Member for Indi.   

Cathy met former Bruck Textile workers at a free job skills workshop held by ATEL and Reddin Partners held in Wangaratta today. The workers told Cathy they want Government to put legislation in place to protect the entitlements of workers at Australian Textile Mills. Cathy asked the workers to write letters about their experience being made redundant and suggested they create a petition to be tabled in Parliament. Cathy wished the workers well in getting the necessary skills they need to re-enter the workforce and thanked ATEL and Reddin Partners for hosting the workshop.

Another important manufacturing industry in Indi is the Munitions factory at Benalla. On Tuesday night 160 people met to ask Cathy to make representation to the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon David Johnston, seeking long-term security for contracts for the factories in Benalla and Mulwala.  

Earlier in the week, Cathy attended two Vietnam Veterans’ Day Memorial Services, was a guest at a Small Health Providers Forum and this afternoon was in Wodonga for the CWA branch 80th birthday and the wonderful afternoon that is always provided.

Parliament resumes next week and Cathy will be making speeches about food manufacturing and telecommunications in Indi. Cathy will continue meeting with Victorian Senators and cross benchers about the Budget in her fight to ensure the people of Indi are not disadvantaged by the Budget.     

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