News from 117 Murphy Street, June 6, 2014
Posted June 06, 2014
In ‘Breaking News’, Cathy launched the Indi Budget Impact Tour 2014 Report today. The response to the ‘BIT’ was overwhelming and thanks to the views and thoughts of well over 700 people, the report provided Cathy with an excellent document to lobby Government for better outcomes in key areas. (Cathy is pictured with Prime Albury journalist Samantha Lowcock discussing the report.)
The Budget negotiation process has started with Cathy meeting relevant ministers in the three priority areas—Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, and Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz. Cathy also discussed the report with many Victorian Senators and her House of Representatives colleague, Clive Palmer, whose Palmer United Party will have balance of power in the Senate.
Aside from the advocacy work for Indi, it was another busy week in Canberra. Cathy gave seven speeches focused on regional living, telecommunications and fighting for manufacturing in Indi.
Standing up for Bruck Textiles, the Independent Federal Member for Indi told colleagues how changes to the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Investment and Innovation Programs Act 1999 would have a devastating impact on this major employer in Wangaratta. Cathy believes the $500-$700,000 is a worthwhile investment from Government for a business which has invested heavily in technology and has a place in manufacturing in Australia and Indi. Cathy will lobby for the Bill’s rejection in the Senate.
The absence of a Rural and Regional Ministerial statement in the Budget for only the second time in almost 20 years has compelled Cathy to lobby Government for it to be included next year. The Budget does not have a plan for regional areas and it’s pivotal the needs and issues of rural and regional Australia are taken into account when financial planning is done. Cathy again called on the Government to produce a 50-year plan for regional Australia.
In Question Time, Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, informed Cathy the co-location of NBN and mobile phone network supply could be an answer to reduce mobile phone blackspots. This was positive and a potentially good outcome for places like Mansfield, where people have been vocal about this as a solution to their blackspot problems. But Cathy believes the problem requires a comprehensive and wide-ranging plan, which she centred on in a follow-up constituent statement and a meeting is scheduled with Mr Turnbull to discuss the issue further.
Landcare has been a fantastic initiative, benefiting communities across Victoria and Indi for the past 25 years. Research for Cathy’s speech was done by Indi volunteer Sue Campbell, who has had a long history with the environmental organisation. The environmental, economic and social outcomes from Landcare projects have been outstanding but none of this would have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the wonderful Landcare volunteers.
Cathy welcomed members of the National Rural Women’s Coalition E-leaders program to Parliament on Tuesday and praised its work as great example of innovation in regional community leadership. Cathy was a special guest at the GOTAFE Mental Health Forum in Wangaratta last month which brought together students, carers, and professionals to talk about solving the problems in the sector, and she was proud to tell Parliament how Indi young people are responding to Mental Health issues in the community.
Earlier today, Cathy was a guest speaker at the Feathertop Wines official opening at Boynton’s in Porepunkah. This iconic winery on the Great Alpine Road has undergone a major renovation. Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund provided $250,000 for the project, one of three to benefit from the fund in the North East. These projects create employment and attract more visitors to the area, which is paramount for the area to continue to grow as an entertaining tourist destination.
Next week, Cathy is heading to Benalla to discuss the Budget Impact Tour Report and on Wednesday is in the Yea district meeting with constituents and talking about the Budget.
Cathy will also welcome the US Consul General, Mary Burce Warlick, for a two-day tour of Indi next Thursday and Friday.