I was honoured to be recently sworn in as the Member for Western Victoria Region at the Opening of the 59th Parliament.

The mixed urban and rural electorate is vast, covering 79,438 square kilometres and runs from Corio Bay to the South Australian border and up into the Mallee.  And while its two major cities and Geelong and Ballarat, it also includes Colac, Ararat, Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Stawell, Horsham and Maryborough. 

All eight Upper House electorates in Victoria encompass eleven Lower House electorates. In Western Victoria they are: Bellarine, Buninyong, Geelong, Lara, Lowan, Melton, Polwarth, Ripon, South Barwon, South West Coast and Wendouree.

This Region depends on agriculture and associated industries. There is a dangerous mood afoot to treat farming and our country lifestyle as a pariah, rather than a vital part of the economy and benefactor to us all.  As I said in my maiden speech:

‘I will fight any moves to limit or shut down agricultural production or country pursuits… As someone who grew up on a farm and who still lives on a farm, like all farmers, I love animals as much, or more than anyone. I also know how important our Western Victorian food production industry is to this entire state and our national economy. I will work for its expansion, not its limitation. There will be no grinding of almonds to replace cow’s milk under my watch.’

Having just served on the Corangamite Shire Council and having left the Council with no debt, millions in reserve, more being spent on roads than ever before and a better outcome driven approach to spending taxpayer dollars, I look forward to working closely with our third tier of government, along with the farming and business sectors to ensure the Region obtains its fair share of the vitally needed infrastructure pie.

I believe the majority of taxpayers spend their own money more wisely than governments and given that individuals, as opposed to governments create wealth; I will be endeavoring to ensure this State Government spends your money wisely.

This electorate has the opportunity to further grow and prosper, while relieving the population and congestion burden off Melbourne. This will only happen with better enabling infrastructure, including energy; roads, rail, port, air and electronic connectivity; plus an expanded and reliable workforce. I look forward to championing these issues and more with passion and constructive argument as your elected representative.

4 January 2019