LAST week proved to be ground-breaking in Australian Parliament, as the Gillard government finally saw some sense in the asylum seeker issue and agreed to offshore processing at Nauru - a proven Coalition policy we have been fighting for.
I welcome this first step towards a solution to this critical issue - but there’s a lot more to be done.
Numerous people in our electorate have spoken to me about their concerns regarding people smuggling, and about the rapidly escalating illegal boat arrivals.
Regardless of age, background or race, the vast majority have indicated their desire for a safe and legal migration and refugee program that does not allow illegal boat arrivals to jump in front of those participating in our migration program.
As the second week of this sitting period of Parliament gets under way, I will be turning my attentions to the carbon tax and the dramatic effects it is now starting to have on Calare businesses – particularly small business.
Significantly higher power prices, delivery costs and operational costs like refrigeration are starting to hit businesses, and the Gillard government must be made aware of how disastrous this toxic tax has become.
Orange bypass opening
IT was with immense satisfaction that I attended the official opening of the North Orange Bypass, five years after the previous Coalition government first committed funding to this vital project.
It is great to see this important central west roads link come to fruition.
I recall seeing a photo of a house being transported on the back of a truck up the main street of Orange - an image that spurred my desire to see a bypass built around Orange, both for the sake of the truck drivers, for motorists and shoppers in the CBD.
Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Mark Vaile agreed with me, and we committed $10 million to the project under the Auslink program, forcing Labor to commit the same.
I congratulate Orange City Council on helping to deliver this very significant roads project.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day
I HAD the honour of attending two Vietnam Veterans’ Day services at the weekend in Orange and in Bathurst.
Saturday, August 18 was the 46th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. It was an opportunity to pause, reflect and remember those suffered.
This year’s commemorations were particularly significant as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Australian troops in Vietnam.
By the end of the conflict, more than 58,000 Australians, including many from our local community, had served their nation in the Vietnam War.
It is always a humbling experience to attend military services like these, and have the opportunity to thanks veterans, and their families - both personally, and on behalf of the electorate.