Local, Independant and Effective

News from 117 Murphy Street, August 29, 2014

Posted August 29, 2014



The Independent Member for Indi returned to Parliament this week to represent the people of Indi on key issues, talk to colleagues about the 2014-15 Budget measures, meet with key stakeholders and welcome visitors to the home of Australian democracy.

Cathy delivered three speeches during the sitting week. The most important was supporting the former Bruck Textile Technologies workers call for Government to amend legislation to ensure full protection from the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme. Last Friday Cathy met with former workers at a job skills workshop and listened to their concerns.

The workers asked Cathy to pass on key messages to Government:

  • Don’t let this happen again,
  • Protect the people still working at Australian Textile Mills,
  • Ask for legislation to be drawn up so that workers are paid their full entitlements
  • Sick leave, accrued time and bank time should be included in FEG.’

Cathy has invited the workers to come to Parliament and deliver a petition that is currently being signed to support the workers’ goal. 

On behalf of Benalla Munitions workers, Cathy delivered a letter to Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon, David Johnston. This was a commitment she made to the 160 workers and families when she met with them recently in Benalla. Workers are looking for certainty and job security and are calling on the Government to sign contracts for future munitions orders or at least announce some positive news. Cathy will welcome the Minister when he visits in September.

A highlight of the week was meeting Regional Youth Leadership and Participation Project 2014 - Wodonga Program participants who were visiting Parliament. This project is a joint venture led by the Ethnic Council of Shepparton & District and the visit became the topic of Cathy’s third speech. The students are recent arrivals from Nepal and most attend Wodonga Senior Secondary School and Murray High School. Cathy heard how the program was teaching important life and leadership skills, building confidence in the students to participate in the local community, and also creating a cultural understanding. Cathy was delighted to see them learning how Parliament operates and watching Question Time live! She encourages all youth program providers to consider visiting Canberra for them to experience.  

Yesterday Cathy met with Vodafone representatives, including CEO Inaki Berroeta, to talk about telecommunications and rural and regional mobile phone coverage. Vodafone is calling for fair access to Government mobile phone coverage programme. The telecommunications company agrees with Cathy on the need for a long-term plan beyond the $100 million programme, acknowledging this amount of funding won’t be enough.

With community in mind, Cathy also made a speech praising the work being done by everyone involved in the Wangaratta Carevan project.

This morning Cathy presented Kevyn Williams from the Hume Veterans Information Centre with a letter telling him the successful funding application for the centre. The Federal Government, through the Building Excellence in Support Training, is funding the centre $49,295.36 for staff and administration. Kevyn said the BEST grant was greatly appreciated and without this funding the centre, which he described as one of the best in Australia, would not operate.

Next week, Cathy is back in Parliament. The Government introduced the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill yesterday. Cathy will speak to the Bill in Parliament and has been actively lobbying the Government, cross benchers and Senators to get changes that will benefit rural and regional students.

Cathy would like to remind people that the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is inviting submissions on steps that can be taken to progress towards a successful referendum on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition. The committee invites submissions by 31 October 2014. Written submissions are preferred and can be made online at the committee's website.

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