Gippsland is one of the most diverse regions in Australia and our community is dispersed across 33,000 square kilometres. There are many larger electorates, but few can lay claim to the rich diversity and strategic importance of Gippsland to our nation's future prosperity.
Gippsland makes an enormous contribution to our nation through the all-important power industry, oil and gas sector, defence and a range of agricultural activities.
The East Sale RAAF base is an outstanding defence facility which performs a vital role in Gippsland and beyond. The electorate has a very proud history with the defence forces and I will be working hard to see the East Sale base extended if possible in the future.
The Gippsland area is a world-class producer. Our region features some of the most productive agricultural land in the nation, with a prosperous dairy industry, lamb and wool production, beef cattle, horticulture in its various forms, a large commercial fishing industry, and timber harvesting from plantations and sustainably managed native forests.
Gippsland has a thriving small business and tourism sector, which I am continually promoting through measures such as urging local families to support local traders and holidaying in the region.
There are more than 11,000 small businesses in the electorate. These are the people who take the risks and have the confidence to invest in Gippsland's future. I will champion their cause at every opportunity because they are helping to build a better future for our young people.
Gippsland boasts incredible extremes in both natural and man-made features. We have the world-renowned Gippsland Lakes, the 90 Mile Beach, abundance National Parks and a network of rivers and streams which feed some magnificent estuarine systems, perhaps none more famous than the Snowy River.
Many of our waterways have been heavily impacted by activities in the catchments, and there are significant environmental issues for the future. As a community volunteer, and now as a Member of Parliament, I will continue to work to improve the local environment.
The most outstanding feature of Gippsland is its people. We are blessed with many thousands of hard working and dedicated volunteers who make an outstanding contribution to all aspects of community life. By putting locals first and standing up for my community, I'm striving to make Gippsland an even better place to live.