News from Murphy Street, May 9
Posted May 09, 2014
News from Murphy Street has an overseas flavour this week leading into one of the biggest weeks on the Parliamentary calendar.
Today, Cathy is returning from a week in Papua New Guinea on her annual visit to assist women in agriculture. The purpose of the visit was to facilitate a leadership workshop for 21 professional women in agriculture.
This included women who hold jobs in various agriculture organisations, departments and cooperatives, rather than farmers and small landholders whom Cathy had worked with on previous visits.
As part of the visit, the president of PNG Women in Agriculture organised for the Australian High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner, both women, to come and meet the group. Cathy found it very satisfying to have high level conversations about the need for Australia to invest in agricultural development and especially women as they produce 85% of the food.
A highlight of the trip was a visit to the town of Rabaul, which experienced a volcanic eruption in 2013. The local 'Women in Ag group' organised a meeting with 100 of the women who live in the village. After the volcano erupted they were moved to another area and are now moving back 'home'. The women told sad stories of how hard it has been to re-establish themselves.
Cathy invited Mobile Communications Research Consultant Dr Amanda H A Watson (pictured) to attend a workshop and provide some communications training to workshop attendees. This was based on Dr Watson’s research findings on the use of mobile phones in development in PNG.
Although Cathy was busy in PNG, she still kept an eye on what was happening back in Indi.
She was pleased to see the State Government get behind projects to assist schools, business and health services in Indi announced in the Victorian Budget this week. Wodonga West PS, Benalla P-12 College and Wangaratta High School were the big winners, which is wonderful news for education in the North East.
The news that $7 million was confirmed for the Wodonga Prevention and Recovery Unit being run by the North East and Border Mental Health Services was also great to hear. This will provide important support for people with mental health issues. However Cathy was disappointed that the Victorian Government has no plans to improve the train line to Wodonga. Cathy will continue to lobby for the Victorian Government to invest in the line.
On Wednesday morning, the focus at 117 Murphy Street wasn’t inside the office but outside, as protesters gathered to support the ABC and called on the Government not to make funding cuts to the national broadcaster. ABC Goulburn Murray provides quality, locally-focused content, including news, and as the designated emergency broadcaster is crucial for North East residents.
117 Murphy Street welcomed work experience student Sarah Murphy this week. The Year 10 Wangaratta High School student spent four days learning how the office operates.
Next week is Budget week, and while the focus will be on the handing down of the document on Tuesday evening, Cathy will also be giving constituent statements in Parliament, and is scheduled to pose a question to the Government in Question Time on Thursday.