One of the things I really enjoy about being an independent representative for Shepparton District is that I am able to put on the agenda the issues in our community. I spent a lot of time this week lobbying government about what we need from the forthcoming state budget. Clearly the funding for Goulburn Valley Health is number one and I made that clear. I hope that all the lobbying and meetings I have had resulted in a good outcome for us.
It is really pleasing to see that all the issues I raised during my campaign are now on everyone’s agenda. The ministers know what our region wants and the opposition does too. Visits to our community by ministers and opposition shadow ministers serve to reinforce the needs of our community.
This week in Parliament there was a Matter of Public Importance raised by the Member for Murray Plains regarding the government’s plan to turn on the desalination plant, which read:
“That this house condemns the Andrews Labor government for its desalination plant announcement which deceives Victorians by claiming it will solve water shortage issues in country Victoria when it is impossible to deliver desalinated water to those areas, and further notes that the recent water announcements will lead to increases in water bills and cost-of-living pressures for Victorian families.”
Listening in the house to all the political speeches on the (thus far) unused de-sal plant or about the merits of reversing the north-south pipeline made me conclude that many MPs have short memories and a real disconnect from what it is like to live with severe water shortages.
My recollections of the Millenium Drought formed part of my speech in support of turning on the Wonthaggi plant. You cannot put a price on mental health, and farmers and the country towns they support will again be placed in a fragile situation if no action is taken to garner extra water to help drought-proof Victoria.
The fact that this year we were able to use the 75Gl of Melbourne’s water for irrigation in the North is an important indicator of how water can be shared across the state. If Melbourne receives the water it needs from the desalination plant they won’t need to take it from the North if things get really dry.
My Constituency Question will resonate with many of you and (yet again) was demanding the improved rail services Shepparton urgently needs.
I specifically asked whether PTV can collect from registered myki cards the location that people travel from to board the train at Seymour. I think this would be a very useful bit of information in our All Aboard campaign demanding better and faster services between Shepparton and Melbourne.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from my constituents that indicates many people drive from Shepparton and towns far beyond such as Nathalia, Barmah, Numurkah, Strathmerton and Cobram to Seymour to access a more regular train service to Melbourne. I often do this myself.
I would be interested to hear how many of you out there regularly travel to Seymour. Please reply to this post and let me know your experiences!
The Port of Melbourne bill passed this week. I had mixed feelings about it but ultimately supported it. It will be good to see money flowing to our regions for transport infrastructure works and I will be lobbying hard to see that the Shepparton bypass gets a look in for full funding.
Don’t forget the autism forum we’re having in Shepparton this Wednesday. I’ll post the poster again for everyone to share around. Anyone whose life is touched by autism be it personally or through a family member or perhaps in your professional life should come along and take advantage of shaping government policy by making a submission to its autism inquiry.