Agriculture voice for Cathy McGowan

CATHY McGowan will be the crossbench representative on a parliamentary committee for agriculture.

The member for Indi will be one of 10 on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture, a role that complements her rural business background.

She said she particularly wanted to follow the progress of agricultural research.

“The government has pledged $100 million to that over four years so I’m keen to see where that is spent,” she said.

“These committees are beyond political lines and are a chance to do some long-term strategic work.”

Liberal MP Rowan Ramsay will chair the committee, which includes six Coalition and three Labor MPs.

Ms McGowan will also co-chair the parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health Group — another topic close to both her and the North East, she said.

“Right through the (election) campaign I kept coming across young people and their families in rural areas who were getting caught (with mental health concerns) because the services weren’t there,” she said.

The group will involve MPs interested in mental health, invite guest speakers and formulate a program of action.

In separate moves, Ms McGowan last week met with Parliamentary Secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher and a senior advisor to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss mobile blackspots in Indi, as well as the NBN rollout.

“I briefed Mr Fletcher on the inroads we’re making in Indi towards a collaborative, community-based solution to the blackspots which pose such a risk to our region as we approach bushfire season,” she said.

“The government are moving at their own pace on this issue.

“But I want to be certain that when the $100 million promised by Prime Minister Tony Abbott becomes available, we’ve already done the research and the collaboration and are ready to move on enacting our proposal.”

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