Rally at Parliament House
Dairy farmers united in great numbers to rally on the steps of the Parliament last Wednesday. The rally organised by Farmer Power was successful in gaining national media attention to the dairy crisis. I used my Members Statement in parliament to draw attention to the current situation and what I have been hearing from dairy farmers in my electorate over the past few weeks. It has been pleasing to see the responses from both the State and Federal Governments so far.
Livestock Disease Control
Last week in Parliament I spoke in support of the Livestock Disease Control Amendment Bill 2016. Biosecurity cannot be compromised on and this bill was designed to strengthen processes within Victoria to ensure that animal movements are tracked and diseases such as anthrax and bovine Johnnes controlled. A dairy cow in Tatura died from anthrax in February of 2015.
We are most anxious in this country not to allow foot-and-mouth disease to be introduced. Many would remember the devastation it has caused in other countries. The Hendra virus, a disease of horses has been contained in Queensland so far and efforts are being made to ensure that it does not spread further. This is a great challenge because it is transmitted by flying foxes of a particular variety.
Politics in Parliament
Political party shenanigans were at an all-time high resulting with the Legislative Council suspending Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings MP because of his refusal to produce certain documents to the House which he claimed were confidential.
I urged Parliament to move on from the political manoeuvring and said that the people of Victoria would, in my opinion, be very unimpressed with how much parliamentary time had been spent on the issue instead of getting on with the important job of debating the five Bills before Parliament. I decided to abstain from voting on these issues brought about by political party infighting.
Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services
I have been a member of the Family and Community Development Committee and throughout the past year it has examined abuse in disability services in our State. The committee heard often challenging evidence from parents and families, service providers, advocacy groups and the Department of Health and Human Services. Some 49 recommendations have been made to the government to address what is clearly widespread abuse in disability services within this state. The recommendations include mandatory reporting of abuse, up skilling of the disability workforce and a broader range of powers for the Disability Commissioner to investigate and deal with complaints.
Follow link for a full copy of the Report http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/fcdc/article/1851