Mr HOGAN (Page) (16:06): I recently had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Erin Riggall, from my electorate of Page, who was a winner in the ABC Heywire competition. In this job you see a lot of people every day, but occasionally you meet a young person like Erin who makes you take a step back and you want to listen to what they have to say—because what she had to say was so refreshingly optimistic. Erin is one of the 40 of our nation’s youngest and brightest who have been discovered by the ABC Heywire project from some of the most diverse areas of regional Australia.
Seventeen-year-old Erin is a country girl at heart, and she makes no bones about it. She is proud of her town and she is proud of the Casino meatworks, where her mum and dad both work. While in Canberra, Erin spoke at Heywire’s forum to encourage young people to take up farming. In the International Year of the Family Farm, when large parts of the country is gripped with drought, this country needs more inspiring and optimistic young people like Erin who are willing to have a go.
Many people in our community sometimes can be dismissive of people and jobs like working in a meatworks. But, as Erin said, people who work in those places have to be skilled and they provide a lot of wealth to our community. In fact, the meatworks in Casino is the largest private employer in the electorate, and I am very proud of the work that they all do.