I had the great pleasure of welcoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott to our electorate of Lyons last week.
Mr Abbott wanted to visit small businesses in Lyons and talk about job opportunities, particularly apprenticeships after the Federal Government launched its $200 million national apprenticeship scheme recently.
I was able to show him two excellent examples of small businesses thinking outside the square to maintain their competitive edge and introduce the owners and their hard-working employees.
At Mark Turner’s Blackwood Furniture, at Western Junction, Mr Abbott even tried his hand at finishing off the carved back of a chair under the watchful eye of second-year apprentice Nick Howard.
Mr Turner has developed an impressive style of operation where his apprentices are matched up with a skilled tradesman who works one-on-one with the apprentice to see him through his training to produce the skilled workers Mr Turner needs for furniture manufacture.
We then drove to Tunbridge to Richard and Emily Gardner’s Annandale property to see the couple’s new dairy – the first of its kind in the traditional fine merino wool region.
The Gardners have been able to make this enormous change to their farming practice because of the water needed for dairying now available from the Midlands Irrigation Scheme.
I was really proud to introduce Mr Abbott to these two businesses in Lyons and look forward to seeing him back in the electorate soon.