Here we are in 2016 and at the time of writing, the new political year has just started in earnest. I’m looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring!
In early March, I celebrated 20 years since my election to Parliament. The event saw hundreds of people from around the electorate attend a gala dinner raising money for COUCH. It was a great night, and I hope that some of you enjoyed catching up with visiting MPs and dignitaries.I also hosted the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, for a community-focused visit where several hundred people were able to hear first-hand about the PM’s plans for our country and Northern Australia.
Locally, there are a number of businesses and initiatives kicking goals – I’ve highlighted the accomplishments of enVizion Group and Hitnet in this newsletter, make sure you check them out! We have seen local community groups benefiting from small grants through the Stronger Communities Program, from sports clubs to Men’s Sheds, and the successful applicants from Round 2 will be announced by the middle of the year. Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme closed in January and I’d like to thank all those who submitted places where mobile phone reception is poor or non-existent. I hear your frustration! The successful Black Spots will be announced later this year, but in the meantime the Round 1 upgrades have started rolling out. In our region, Speewah will be the first tower to be upgraded in the second half of 2016 – great news for local residents and businesses.
Nationally, we finished 2015 with some strong economic wins including creating more than 301,000 jobs – the best performance since 2006. Looking ahead to 2016, we’ll continue to drive economic growth and new jobs by building confidence, investing in infrastructure, promoting innovation and implementing key free trade agreements. Our plan is to win the next election so that we can deliver on our commitments to the Australian people.
Lastly, I would like to wish all my constituents a happy Easter. Whether you commemorate Easter as a time of renewal and growth, or enjoy the long weekend with family and friends, please be safe at home, on the road and in the water.