A thousand reasons for government to listen to Indi on the federal budget
Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan says the outstanding response to her Federal Budget survey sends a clear message that people are hungry to be heard by government.
In a speech today Ms McGowan told the Parliament that in the three weeks since the budget was handed down, more than 1,000 people responded to the invitation to tell the government what they thought. The top three priorities were health and welfare (93 per cent), education (92 per cent) and the environment (89 per cent).
“Thank you to everyone who filled in the survey. This was a terrific response and I was proud to report to the Parliament what people have said,” Ms McGowan said.
“This is power of having a local independent representative who can engage with the community to give people a voice and take their message fearlessly to the government.”
Young people were well represented in the survey with 140 aged between 14-25 giving their feedback, in person through three breakfast sessions and online.
“Our young people are working hard to build their futures,” Ms McGowan said.
“This effort is thwarted by restricted access to Centrelink payments, the high cost of education, and the cost of relocating to access employment and education.”
Ms McGowan said the government’s move to increase university fees and reduce the threshold for repaying them comes at a time when the need has never been higher for a highly educated and skilled regional workforce.
“Economic development and job creation in Indi will be dependent on the skills provided by a post-secondary education.”
Other themes from the survey included:
- A warning to use NDIS funds for services to those in need, not administration
- A clear push for sustainability and financial support to make the most of renewable energy sources. There is increased concern at the rising cost of energy to both the domestic and business sectors, and the need to plan for climate change.
- The slow pace of the NBN rollout, and the ongoing risk for emergency services where mobile phone coverage is poor.
Ms McGowan will release a full report of the survey in June. For a copy email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 5721 7077.
“For ongoing opportunities to have a say, stay in touch on my website www.cathymcgowan.com.au,” Ms McGowan said.