ON THE ROAD: Clarence State MP Chris Gulaptis, Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan and Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson at the Devils Pulpit upgrade yesterday.
ON THE ROAD: Clarence State MP Chris Gulaptis, Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan and Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson at the Devils Pulpit upgrade yesterday.

Hogan upbeat after first year

DESPITE being part of a Federal Government lagging behind the Opposition in the polls, Kevin Hogan is upbeat as he celebrates his first year as the Member for Page.

Mr Hogan unseated Labor's incumbent Janelle Saffin in last year's federal election on September 7 with a 6.85% swing to his Nationals party.

He joined a Coalition returning to the Treasury benches after six years in the wilderness and determined to overturn what he saw as faulty legislation in the carbon and mining taxes and border protection.

"We've got rid of the carbon tax and just saw off the mining tax," Mr Hogan said.

"If you look at it overall, we've stopped the people drowning on boats, repealed the carbon and mining taxes and started fixing up the Budget - all things we said we would do."

Mr Hogan acknowledges the government's first year has not panned out exactly as planned, with Treasurer Joe Hockey's first budget struggling to get through both Houses of Parliament.

He prefers to look at the successes of the Abbott Government overseas, where Australia has signed off on free trade agreements with South Korea and Japan, and is on the verge of signing up with China.

He said the FTAs were already having an effect in his electorate, where both beef and dairy farmers were benefiting.

"Already, dairy farmers are getting 3c a litre more at the farm gate from the Norco deal to supply the Chinese with fresh milk," he said.

"The situation with beef is also improving, although the rain could be having an effect there as well.

"Although there are issues with beef prices, the product is moving and there are some good returns around the corner."

Mr Hogan is also excited about the prospect of opening up blueberry exports to China.

He has been working hard with Tabulam grower Ridley Bell, who says he will be able employ up to 400 people at peak times in the year.

"There's a three to four-month window of opportunity for us to supply the Chinese market," Mr Hogan said.

"We've been helping him with the protocols of establishing his contacts in China."

On a personal note Mr Hogan said his first year in the job has been a lot of hard work.

"It's a hard 24/7 job, but I've enjoyed every minute," he said.



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