As I mentioned in my prior post, last week began by visiting those affected by the storm on Sunday. Some other activities during the week:
- I was invited to attend and speak at Goulburn Valley (GV) Hospice’s AGM on Wednesday. GV Hospice is a highly valued organisation in our community. When my own father was dying we were able to nurse him at home with the wonderful care and support provided by GV Hospice. It was an honour to congratulate Dr John Hetherington who has been president of the Board for the last 13 years. He has worked hard for the organisation since its inception in 1989 and has always been a highly thought of and respected contributor to our community.
- On Thursday, the Family and Community Development Committee that I am a member of held their regional public hearing in Bendigo. This is Stage 2 of the Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services. We heard from CEO’s of local disability groups, from carers support groups and visited several disability services.
- On Friday, I was invited to attend the government’s announcement of $1.3 for Fruit Fly Action Plan at Tatura. The Minister for Agriculture, The Honourable Jaala Pulford released a state-wide plan for the management of fruit fly and opened a new grants program to generate innovative ideas to grow more fruit, vegetables and nuts.
- I, along with representatives from the Committee for Greater Shepparton and Greater Shepparton City Council sought to give evidence to the Senate Select Committee on the Murray Darling Basin Plan at its Public Hearing held at Riverlinks Eastbank Centre on Friday afternoon. We had received confirmation the previous day that we would be able to do so at 3 PM.
Immediately after being called to give evidence by the chairman there was a disturbance, followed by the Nationals and Labor Senators leaving the Inquiry venue resulting in only three of the crossbencher Senators remaining. The result was that the Committee did not have a quorum. I have now requested that the Committee hear our important evidence in Canberra in December. I truly hope the committee will be comprised of all the crossbench Senators who are willing to hear that evidence.
- On Saturday, my family and I attended the Out in the Open Festival at Queens Gardens. This is a festival that celebrates diversity. My office attended the launch of National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE) (http://www.niche.org.au/what-is-niche/) regional launch on Friday at the GV Hotel. NICHE has entered into a partnership with Kildonan UnitingCare to provide support to LGBTI young people in rural and remote areas of Australia.
My office dealt with a wide range of constituent issues and I met with many of them during the week. Some of the issues were: concerns over the Greater Shepparton City Council’s introduction of the compulsory organic waste bins, issues around parents having to pay for iPads for their primary school students and lack of public housing.
The Wunghnu Advancement Group contacted my office about the poor condition of the bus stop in Wunghnu. I raised the issue with the Minister for Public Transport and also visited the bus stop on my way to Strathmerton on Monday. PTV has now informed the Moira Council that Wunghnu is getting a new bus stop along the GV Highway south of Walter Street. Congratulations to the Wunghnu Advancement Group for not giving up on this issue and for bringing it to my attention so that I could raise it with the Minister.
I am back to parliament this week. I hope everyone has a great week.