News from Murphy Street, February 28, 2014
Posted February 28, 2014
For Cathy McGowan this week, it’s been a case of Canberra, kids and volunteers.
She gave four talks in Parliament on differing topics: transport, dairy and agriculture, Melrose Primary School and a petition from a group of communities in Indi.
On Tuesday, Cathy was able to bring to light the ongoing chaos with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator oversize permit process, which is affecting transport operators in Indi, on the border and Australia-wide.
This grew out of a constituent, Matthew Walker form Walker Transport Operations, contacting the office and informing staff of how his business had ground to a halt and it was having a major impact on the industry and business.
Cathy used Question Time to ask Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for infrastructure, Warren Truss, what was being done to solve the crisis in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator oversize permit process.
The national media picked it up and ran with it, but the issue of permits being approved is yet to be resolved.
That night, it was the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Mental Health group, co-sponsored by Cathy, Dan Tehan, Federal Member for Wannon, and Senator for South Australia.
About 100 MPs and their partners attended the gathering, which was held in a courtyard at Parliament House.
Cathy spoke at length about the need for a long-term agricultural plan for Indi and the country during an Amendment debate on the Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Amendment (Dairy Produce) Bill on Wednesday.
There were three parts to her speech, including her interest in the dairy industry, the ground-breaking work being carried out by the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathway Project and a call for the Government to create a long-term plan for sustainable agriculture.
The biggest smiles she received for the week were courtesy of Year 5 and 6 students from St Augustines Primary School in Wodonga who toured Parliament house on Wednesday afternoon, and Year 5 and 6 students at Wangaratta Primary School this morning.
The kids were really interested in how Canberra worked and Parliament House itself, and posed some interesting questions to their local member.
She encourages any schools in the electorate to consider a visit as a school camp to see first-hand how Parliament works.
Back at the office in Wangaratta, step one of developing a volunteer program took place on Wednesday, and although it’s early days yet, engagement processes will be piloted over the next month.
In Canberra, Danny O’Hagan organised the first of a series of gatherings of Indi ex-pats, and Cathy is impressed with the quality and diversity of people she’s meeting who once lived in the electorate.
Today, she met with Hume Regional Development Australia committee members.
It was a productive meeting, focusing on how RDA and Cathy can work together on the digital economy, transport, recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, small business, and cross-border anomalies.