Does your child own a smartphone?  Research shows that 68 percent of Aussie children aged 12-17 now own a smartphone. New South Wales parents are buying children smartphones earlier, and device screen time among kids is on the rise, according to new research released by Telstra.

Telstra has also released some valuable advice for parents of children with smartphones to help them understand the health and safety aspects of smartphone use.

Telstra customers can access the Mobile Protect app that allows parents to
• Block unwanted calls or callers, texts or texters made over the Telstra Mobile Network – Manage a list of numbers kids can call, text or be called and text by on their phone.
• Set up a safe list of numbers and websites – Choose numbers that can always be accessed.
• Manage the time kids can spend online and making calls – Place time-of-day limits on web browsing and phone calls.
• Choose the mobile web content which can be accessed – Mobile Protect allows parents to select internet browsing profiles that are tailored for young children and teens that permit some sites, while blocking adult-oriented content.

Parents interested in obtaining more information in relation to this initiative should visit 

This week in Canberra nine farmers visited Parliament House to talk about their experiences in developing and implementing sustainable farming practices

The farmers feature in Earth Hour’s recently released cookbook Planet to Plate. In an Australian publishing first, Planet to Plate uniquely and beautifully incorporates first-hand stories from Australian farmers highlighting the impact global warming is having on their farms and the nation’s availability of fresh, homegrown food.

Earth Hour in 2015 is on Saturday 28 March and will focus on farmers and fresh food availability.  For more information visit

Australia’s largest rail freight operator Aurizon is calling for non-profit and charity groups to apply for the latest round of the Community Giving Fund.

Aurizon has, to date, delivered cash grants to 168 worthy community groups across Australia.

If you know of a local charity or not for profit organisation that have projects based on the environment, community safety, education or health and wellbeing encourage them to apply for a grant.

Aurizon works in conjunction with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Australia to provide biannual grants of up to $20,000.

Applications for the grants will close at 5pm (AEST) on Thursday 24 April 2015.

Log onto for more information.

I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

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To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.

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