One of the first major challenges I had in Council was dealing with the threat of SPC closing it’s doors. SPC is an iconic industry in Shepparton and it’s closure could have potentially decimated our economic output and cost thousands of jobs.
My husband and I began distributing ‘Buy Australian’ banners, at cost, to local businesses, in order to raise awareness by ‘Painting the Town Green’. I’m proud to say you can still spot them around town, including above the entry to the Council building. Our effort was one of many grassroots initiatives that eventually boosted SPC sales enough to save the company.
We received a ‘Thank You’ letter from then SPC CEO Peter Kelly. His letter and some newspaper clippings were ‘preserved’ in a can as part of a recent SPC campaign.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but I objected to closing Andrew Fairly Avenue (AFA) for SPC’s exclusive use, on the grounds of safety. School intersections are already overly congested during pick-up and drop-off times. Closing the road would have compounded the problem and put our children at risk. Thankfully SPC are still operating without the road closure.
I also campaigned for clearer food labelling and wrote a personal submission to the Fair Trade Commission to STOP illegal dumping from other countries. Clearer labelling is being introduced this year and the Fair Trade investigation found Italy guilty of tomato dumping.
There is still much work to do in protecting Australian produce. Our food is the best in the world and it is not an even playing field when competing with government subsidised imports. I feel the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement was a lost opportunity and am willing to do what it takes to ensure Greater Shepparton remains the ‘Food bowl’ of Australia.