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Time for a visit

*Response to Editor’s Opinion: ‘Time for a visit’, Casterton Times, 19th September 2018

Dear Editor,

I read the opinion piece in your paper this week, ‘Time for a visit’.

In short, it spoke about the lack of political representation in Western Victoria, or at least the limited visual presence of that representation.

I guess that is fair call. I can understand the sentiments. Direct access to Members of Parliament must feel pretty thin in regional areas.

I admit, there are fewer pollies wandering Spring Street, Casterton, then there are its Melbourne namesake.

The Region of Western Victoria covers 79,438 square kilometres stretching from Melton in the east to Geelong in the south, along the Great Ocean Road to the SA border, north to Nhill, Apsley, Rainbow and of course through the beautiful region of Casterton, Coleraine and Dunkeld.

It is no excuse to say that the area is so large that it’s too hard to see it all.

I put a contrary view. I am proud to say that I have travelled the electorate extensively.

Even as recently as last week I was in Hamilton to attend the National Centre for Farmer Health annual conference.  Earlier that morning I was in Ballarat.

The night before I was in Cressy.  The next day I was in Warrnambool.

I also had a great day at the Casterton Cup in May.  I talked with lots of great locals. Actually, I’ve been to Casterton many times in this role, and many more times as a private citizen.

I understand that attending specific functions and meetings limits my exposure to those attending.  I would like to meet with many more.

But I do try.  Travelling through Western Victoria is one of the great joys of my job.  And unlike certain Labor representatives of this region, I don’t refer to travels to more remote areas as ‘outreach’.

I am happy to meet with you, as Editor of this paper, or any locals to discuss what is important.  I want to hear the frustrations.  And the hopes.

In fact, I thank you for raising your concerns. I only hope that you don’t genuinely consider me faceless.

I am proudly of this region – born of this region – and a farmer of this region

My office is always ready to take your calls.