Welcoming the PM back to Dubbo
Welcoming the Prime Minister Scott Morrison back to my electorate this week – the second time in under three months – will be very exciting for the Dubbo region. I welcome any opportunity to have the Prime Minister visit and get to know the issues that matter most to us here in the Parkes electorate.
The Prime Minister will be here for the Bush Summit on 18 July, which brings together government, industry and business leaders, and key spokespeople to canvas the ways in which we can make our regions strong and vibrant places into the future – one of my main priorities as Minister for Regional Services and Decentralisation.
Despite the drought, rural and regional Australia offers significant opportunities to live and work, and I look forward to this summit highlighting this fact.
Suicide prevention is a national priority
Suicide takes far too many Australians, devastating families and local communities. One life lost to suicide is one too many, which is why I’m pleased that providing greater support for all Australians needing mental health and suicide prevention services is a key priority of this Government.
The Prime Minister recently announced the appointment of Christine Morgan as the new National Suicide Prevention Adviser to support this priority. Ms Morgan will work with the Department and Minister for Health to drive a whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention, while ensuring prevention services reach Australians that need them and communities are supported.
As the Minister overseeing rural health, I will be looking to ensure my voice is heard as part of a wider conversation about suicide prevention in our rural and regional communities.
We currently invest almost $5 billion in mental health services each year across Australia. It’s important these services reach those who need them, but it’s also critical they also address the complex issues contributing to suicide and mental health illness.
Have your say on farm trespass
Farmers, agricultural businesses and stakeholders are encouraged to have their say on a new Bill to protect the privacy of Australian farmers and producers against the unlawful actions of animal activists.
This government wants to see tough new penalties in place to help protect farmers and their businesses from people who seek to destroy what they do for a living. I’m encouraging all interested parties to put forward their views on the new laws, along with their own experiences on dealing with farm invasions and theft.
Farmers have a right to feel safe in their homes and workplaces and not be subject to harassment and theft for producing food that feeds people here and across the globe. We need to send a clear message to animal activists that if you use the personal information of family farmers to incite trespass then you will be risking imprisonment.
The Criminal Code Amendment Bill criminalises the action of publishing material, via a carriage service, with the intention to incite trespass, property damage and theft on to agricultural land. The serious criminal penalties include up to five years’ imprisonment.
Submissions to the Senate Committee are open until 31 July, and can be made confidentially in writing or online. For details on how to put forward a submission, see www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Agriculturalprotection