Australia has a variable climate with a cycle of droughts, fires and ‘flooding rains’. I accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that the climate is changing. As a farmer and agricultural consultant, I have seen the change in the environment and worked with people who are continuing to be affected by these changes. Our region is heavily dependent on farming and tourism, both of which are impacted by a changing climate. Action on climate change is critical to ensuring our local economy, industry and way of life is preserved for future generations.
I support market mechanisms as the most efficient and effective way to price carbon and reduce emissions. This policy should be coupled with continued research into energy efficient technologies, renewable energy sources and carbon sequestration.
My priority will be to represent the long term interests of the Indi community in sustaining our environment and natural resources and I support adaptation measures where needed.
Cathy’s commitment on climate change
I will work with government to take active steps to reduce atmospheric carbon, safeguard industry in regional Australia, and pursue an equitable approach to climate policy, which takes into account cost of living pressures passed on to vulnerable people in our community.
Discrimination has no place in Australian law or society. I believe the legal and institutional framework which governs Australia should treat all people equally. As a society we have made huge progress in recent times but there are still many legal and institutional barriers facing some groups in our society.
Cathy’s commitment on marriage equality
I will fully support equal rights for same-sex couples to marry.
We need an immigration system that respects international law, is fair, and ensures people's health, safety and dignity is maintained.
Refugee issues are complicated and resolving them requires respectful, calm discussion. When the issue is used as a political football played out in the media rather than the negotiating room, the nuances are lost and the human cost of the issue is overlooked. I believe we need to take immigration out of the political debate and sort out a bi-partisan approach that can work long-term.
The people of Indi watched the 2014 SPC Ardmona case with serious interest and concern. Whilst some in the electorate of Indi would have been directly affected by the closure, many others saw the situation as an indication of what may still be ahead for the agricultural and associated food processing industries in rural and regional Australia. There is no doubt that the closure of SPC Ardmona would have been devastating for Shepparton and surrounding communities had it happened.
Australia needs a long-term and strategic plan outlining the future of rural and regional agriculture. We need the government to have the vision and strategy to help rural and regional Australia to grow the jobs and the industries at the heart of our communities. Companies like SPC Ardmona require consistency in government policy and deserve answers to the following questions.
- What is the framework that the government is using to create jobs in these industries?
- What is the government’s plan to ensure that Australian food producing industries can grow and prosper?
A prosperous agriculture and food production industry needs improved infrastructure and innovative education and training. By working with the businesses already in our community we can plan and develop these initiatives efficiently.
The Government committed to producing an Agricultural Competiveness White Paper in December 2013. According to Coalition policy, “[t]he White Paper will set out a clear, well-defined and transparent strategic approach to promote more investment and jobs growth in the agriculture sector.” On behalf of the electorate of Indi and rural and regional Australia, Cathy McGowanMPcalls on the Government to outline the timeline for the delivery of this White Paper. The rejection of SPC Ardmona’s request for government assistance shows that this White Paper is needed urgently. The agriculture and food processing industries deserve the confidence that comes from having a clearly defined policy in regards to how the Government intends to support these industries into the future. Workers are also looking for certainty that jobs in these industries will be sustainable.