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a bi-monthly review of the latest news and hot topics in Herbert.

A Message from Cathy This year looks to be another exciting year for the electorate of Herbert. I am looking forward to meeting and welcoming new residents to the community and celebrating the Palm Island Centenary throughout 2018. I will be hosting a number of mobile offices throughout the city and I invite everyone to come along, have a chat and raise the issues that are important to you and your family. I will once again be putting the pressure on the Turnbull Government to acknowledge our voice in the North. I will continue the fight to get the Turnbull Government to match Federal Labor’s commitment of $100 Million towards a long term water solution for Townsville , $200 Million towards developing hydro-electricity at the Burdekin Falls Dam and $75 Million for the Port Expansion Project. I will also remain focused on fighting against the cuts to Education, Health, Aged Care and Defence sectors. I am determined for Townsville to be viewed as an Energy Hub not only in the North but also moving into South East Asia. I am also fighting for a Defence Industry Hub for Townsville.

Page 2 Turnbull’s Medicare Freeze Making you Pay More

Page 3 Bill Shorten Makes his 15th Visit to Townsville

Page 4 Media Statement: The Turnbull Government needs to prioritize Veterans Affairs Immediately

Page 5 February Mobile Offices Stop the Cuts Turnbull Hot Topic—Oh Turnbull

Page 6—9 Did You Catch This?

Page 10 Cathy’s Opinion

Page 11 Mobile Office Locations

Page 11 Become a Volunteer Small Business Opportunities What’s On

TURNBULL’S MEDICARE FREEZE MAKING YOU PAY MORE THAN EVER! The Turnbull Government refuses to lift their Medicare Freeze, which means that residents are paying more than ever before or healthcare. On Monday 26th of February, Member for Dawson, George Christensen suggested that residents will save money if they go to the Hospital Emergency Departments. New figures from the Queensland Emergency Departments reveal that one in three patients are showing up to Hospital Emergency Department’s (ED’s) with minor ailments that could be treated by a GP or Pharmacist. It is absolutely outrageous for George Christensen to suggest that residents should use an ED as an alternative to visiting their GP or Specialist to save costs. Last year Queensland Health launched their ‘Keep Emergency for emergencies’ campaign, which aimed to discourage Queenslanders from attending Emergency Departments (EDs) with GP type presentations. The Emergency Departments were under increased pressure and waiting periods grew due to patients attending with GP type presentations. Our ED’S cannot be pressured with expanded waiting times, because the Turnbull Government refuses to lift their Medicare Freeze. It is absolutely unacceptable for the Turnbull Government to cut $2.2 Billion from Medicare, which is increasing out of pocket costs for Australians. Pensioners, veterans and families should not have to choose whether they can afford to visit a GP or specialist because the Turnbull Government is cutting health care budgets. If George Christensen was serious about working for his electorate he would stand with Labor in calling on this Government to lift the Medicare Freeze immediately!

BILL SHORTEN ON HIS 15TH VISIT Committed to Townsville On Monday 19th February, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP visited Townsville for the 15th time since 2015. Bill was joined by the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Jason Clare MP and myself to announce that a Shorten Labor Government will invest $75 million to deliver the Townsville Port Channel Widening project. The Port Expansion Project will boost the local economy, create at least 120 construction jobs and 60 ongoing jobs for locals, and more than 200 additional jobs across the state. This shows that Federal Labor is genuinely committed and dedicated to the North. Widening the channel will set up the Port of Townsville to attract more shipping business, which will increase import and export opportunities and deliver a $580 million economic dividend. It will also deliver substantial growth in cruise ship traffic – boosting tourism for the region. On Monday evening Bill Shorten and I hosted an open Town Hall Meeting and all residents in the community were invited to come along, raise concerns and ask questions. It was a great event with more than 240 people attending. Bill and I responded to a diverse range of topics, including: 

Water Security





My office has received positive feedback from the Town Hall Meeting with many residents saying that they left with a better understanding of Federal Labor’s plans for the North. Rest assured that I will continue to fight for Townsville to ensure that we get our fair share!

STATEMENT The Turnbull Government needs to prioritise Veterans Affairs immediately Monday 26 February, 2018 “The Turnbull Government has shown us that their priority is simply not towards Veterans Affairs. Today the Government decided on their new Deputy Prime Minister. However they are yet to outline what is happening with the Veterans Affairs portfolio. How is the Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack MP, expected to appropriately manage being the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Minister for Defence Personnel, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and the crucial portfolio of Veterans Affairs? This week in the Parliament there is Senate Estimates for Veterans Affairs and some vital legislation that is due to be debated; yet who is going to be the Minister leading that debate? Will it be the newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister? The Turnbull Government needs to confirm who exactly the Veterans Affairs Minister is? Our veterans cannot afford for their concerns to be placed on hold whilst this Government, yet again, sorts out its cabinet. Should a new Minister for Veterans Affairs be appointed, this will make three Ministers in three months. This is absolutely disgraceful and a real slap in the face to those who have served our country. Townsville is the largest garrison city in the nation and we have one of the highest veteran populations within Australia. There are over 5,700 veterans, ex-service personnel and families who access services from DVA in the Herbert electorate. These men and women and their families deserve consistency, stability and transparency in their Minister for Veterans Affairs. It is unacceptable that the Turnbull Government has a revolving door of Ministers for Veterans Affairs. I am truly concerned that with this high number of revolving door Ministers, the recommendations from the inquiry into veteran’s suicide are not being appropriately managed to the standard they deserve. Our veterans and ex service personnel deserve more than what the Turnbull Government is offering them and they certainly deserve more than a limbo Veterans Affairs portfolio.”

Cathy O’Toole, MP Member for Herbert

Throughout the month of February I have been taking my office to the streets giving residents an opportunity to raise their concerns and discuss matters of importance with me. I understand that not all residents can get to my office and that is why I am having a range of mobile offices around the city. I am committed to engaging with as many people as possible, to ensure that my voice in Canberra reflects the voice of the North.

Oh Turnbull!

On Monday 26th February 2018, I moved a Motion in Parliament noting the ongoing cuts to public sector jobs in regional cities like Townsville has had a detrimental impact on the local economy. Under the Abbott/Turnbull Government; 

Townsville will lose 40 aviation jobs when the Royal Australian Air Force’s 38 Squadron King Air fleet relocates to East Sale, Victoria.

Townsville will lose 10 APS defence support staff jobs due to the Turnbull Government’s change in process in 2nd Division.

Townsville has 50 less defence staff in June 2017 than we had in December 2012.

Townsville has lost 19 jobs from the CSIRO in the last few years

Regional Queensland Customs staffing has been cut by 50% with 30 jobs lost from Gladstone ,Thursday Island with Townsville one of the hardest hit.

Townsville has lost 110 jobs after the consolidation of the Australian Tax Office in 2014.

My mobile office visited numerous locations in February such as; 

The Strand Night Markets

JCU O Week Market Day

Riverway Moonlight Markets

The Townsville Defence Welcome Expo

Douglas IGA Riverside

Townsville is a diverse city, which means that there are many issues of concern and interest that residents want to discuss with me. If I am in a location near you, please feel free to come along and either have a chat or raise an issue that matters to you and/or your family. Remember my door is always open. I am very aware that I cannot represent this great city in Canberra without meeting and hearing from local residents. I am determined to fight for Townsville’s fair share because that is what our community deserves. I look forward to meeting more residents when my mobile office comes to a place near you.

Under the Abbott/Turnbull Governments unemployment in Townsville has almost doubled. Whole industries have gone and jobs have been cut. I am calling on the Turnbull Government to immediately reinstate the hundreds of jobs they have cut from Townsville’s public sector.

Yet again the Turnbull Government has dragged the country through another saga of their own internal bickering. I would like to make it very clear that what people do in their own time is their own business. That being said there is certainly a standard that we as elected representatives must uphold, particularly in the workplace if you are a Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister. It would appear that the former Deputy Prime Minister may have broken the Ministerial Code of Conduct by not declaring his free accommodation, the allegation that his now partner had new (unnecessary) roles created for her in multiple offices and the investigation into his travel arrangements linked to the family reunion budget. More recently it came to light Mr Joyce kept an Air Force jet waiting for 45minutes whilst he checked on his now partner. The final straw, which then lead to the Former Deputy Prime Minister’s own decision in stepping aside, was of the alleged sexual harassment claims against him which could lead to a court matter. It is appalling that the identity of the woman who made the complaint in confidence has been made public. The Australian people expect their representatives, especially Ministers to lead by example. The Australian people want to be confident that their taxes are being used appropriately. It's time to stop the rot, stop the distractions and concentrate on governing the country. I've been focussed on my job and what matters to this community and it's time the Turnbull Government does the same thing.

What first-time IT managers really need to know.

Australia has had a long and proud history of manufacturing. We have always had a sense of pride when buying Australian made, because we know that we are supporting Australian jobs. Over the last decade we have been losing that sense of pride, and that is because our manufacturing industry has been on the decline. Over the last 20 years, manufacturing employment has almost halved, slipping from 14.2% of the workforce to just 8.2% In net terms, since 1994 employment in the sector has fallen from 1.1 million to approximately 950,000 workers – or a decline of around 15% However, even during the periods of decline, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the Australian manufacturing sector has continued to represent a core source of economic prosperity for Australia. Manufacturing has contributed largely to Australia’s sustained economic performance and our capacity to generate quality jobs. In manufacturing, well over 80% of jobs are full-time, and the majority of these come with the full suite of employee benefits, including paid leave. Manufacturing is a key pillar to the future economic growth of this country. The world’s best performing economies tend to have innovative and sophisticated manufacturing sectors. Federal Labor understands the importance of maintaining a healthy manufacturing industry within Australia, not only for the development and sustainability of the country but to also provide long standing quality jobs. A Shorten Labor Government will establish a new $1 billion Australian Manufacturing Future Fund (AMFF) to drive innovation and help Australian manufacturers grow their businesses and create new jobs. Modelled on Labor’s successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the AMFF will leverage finance in order to help Australian enterprises make the successful transition into high value production. This in turn will create high-skill jobs, support firms linking in to global supply chains and diversify the Australian economy. Labor wants Australia to be a successful advanced manufacturing nation. Whether it is auto component manufacturers re-tooling or diversifying into other industries, food manufacturers investing in new equipment to package new products for Asian export markets, or metals fabricators making the move into pre-fabricated housing, Labor’s AMFF will help our local manufacturers innovate, diversify, and develop opportunities in new export markets. Building on the success of the CEFC, the AMFF will continue Labor’s work in developing an innovative nation for the future, and backing our comparative advantages in design, engineering, research and development. Townsville was once known for its manufacturing opportunity in the past. Labor will revitalise and open the doors for this to happen again. Cathy O’Toole, MP Member for Herbert

5 Easy Steps to Volunteer 1. Visit my webpage at 2. Click on the Volunteer Tab at the top of the page 3. Enter your details in the boxes provided 4. Click Volunteer 5. Or simply contact my office on 4725 2066 or via email at

In 2016 I launched the ‘Cathy Talks Business with Townsville” segment on social media. Every week I visit a locally owned and operated small business to discuss both success and challenges. Most importantly my aim is to reinforce the “by local” theme and to promote the business. Supporting our local small business community helps create employment in our city. Experience has taught me that there is no better way to source the facts than to talk with the people who are on the frontline of business! If you own a business in Townsville and would like to be involved, please contact my office on 4725 2066.

Profile for Member for Herbert

Cathy's Chronicle - January - February Edition 2018  

January - February 2018 Edition

Cathy's Chronicle - January - February Edition 2018  

January - February 2018 Edition