Cathy McGowan delivers first Rural Press Club Speech in Melbourne
Cathy McGowan AO, MP for Indi, has provided journalists with an insight into her campaign, election win and the challenging and exciting task ahead to try to solve the varied issues facing North East Victoria and the people of Indi.
Ms McGowan’s inaugural speech at the Rural Press Club breakfast (Wednesday, February 5) focused on what she believes are the issues close to the heart of voters in her electorate, who showed their want for change in September last year.
She outlined her main areas of work as the Member for Indi, as doing her best to help people get results through the maze of Commonwealth bureaucracy, and to work in partnerships—local government, state government, community groups and business—to advance the major infra- structural and service issues facing her electorate.
“I’ll also represent the interests of the people of Indi in Canberra, to give voice to our issues and to work with community groups so they can find and use their own voices,” she said.
Since gaining office, Ms McGowan has been doing community visits to discuss the ongoing problems, including train service along the line from Albury to Seymour and Melbourne, and service delivery of health, education and housing.
She is optimistic the communities’ goals can be achieved, because of the capabilities she seen in her communities.
“I think Margaret Mead summed it up perfectly: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.. indeed it is the only thing that ever has”,” she said.
“I am up for the challenge. I am confident that like winning the election, we can make a difference.”
Among the major issues facing people is the lack of communication infrastructure many people in larger centres take for granted, according to Cathy, and this situation needed to change as soon as possible.
“Telecommunications is a perennial issue,” she said.
“Mobile phone black spots and the lack of reliable affordable access to high speed broadband – hopefully these are rectified before my nieces and nephews are grandparents.”
She also posed questions: where are the plans, action on climate change, how families and people are cared for in the future, and how sustainable farming can be achieved?
“Agriculture is important: researching, growing, teaching, value adding, processing, distribution and eating – our valleys with their fresh and clean water, deep soils and vibrant communities give us a strong competitive advantage,” she said.
Ms McGowan told the press club she believed the days of voting with pencil and paper in a box should become a thing of the past and will advocate for the introduction of electronic voting in future elections.
She also reflected on the fine work local media outlets perform in Indi and across rural and regional Victoria and how they continue to be relevant and provide a community service.
“The role rural media plays in supporting rural Victorians is a critical one, as many people still rely on their local newspapers, media and community radio stations to get their information, ” she said.
Visit http://www.cathymcgowan.com.au/mp_blog to see the full text of Cathy's speech.