Community consultation to guide Cathy McGowan on Budget vote
Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, will be consulting her constituents to assist her in understanding the full impact of the Federal Government’s 2014-15 Budget on Indi.
Ms McGowan said the 2014-15 Budget has strong financial management measures aimed at returning the Budget to surplus and finding efficiencies in the public service and government departments, as well as funding for important projects in Indi.
“I am pleased to see the Government commit to $1.84 million for the Indigo Shire Roads program, $200,000 for the Bright Hospital Feasibility Study, and $5 million for the Albury Wodonga Health Cardiac Laboratory and the CCTV mobile camera for Myrtleford,” Ms McGowan said.
“I also welcome many of the initiatives, including additional funding for Roads to Recovery and the Road Blackspots program, and fulfilling the election commitment to provide $100 million for agriculture research and development.
“However I am concerned about the impact that $7 patient contributions for GP visits will have on the health system and already stretched public hospital system. I’m concerned this levy will force people to choose the emergency department over their local GP. I will be consulting with the community on this issue.
“I am also very keen to talk to young people about how the work for the dole scheme will affect them and their families. New social security policies for young people will put more pressure and stress on young people who aren’t earning an income and have few job or skills-training options. Youth unemployment is high and education options are few in Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla and small country towns. I am concerned that these new welfare policies will be difficult to implement in my electorate. I will be consulting about this with the community in coming weeks.”
Ms McGowan welcomed the funding for mental health research, services and support allocated in the Budget.
“It’s important these new services are designed to help people who live in rural and regional Australia. I will be lobbying Government to make sure this happens,” Ms McGowan said.
The Budget contained the $100 million to help fix mobile phone blackspots across Australia and Ms McGowan supports the collaborative approach to solving the coverage issues with industry, Local Government and community groups. Co-contributions will be sought to match the grant funding.
“I know my Indi Blackspot LGA committee which is meeting next Monday, will be pleased with this news,” she said.
Ms McGowan will consult with residents to gain a clear understanding of whether they are prepared to accept the financial impact on them and their communities in return for the promise of improved management of our nation’s economy.
“We have at least three weeks before the Budget is voted on. As an Independent, I’m not restricted by the standard political party process. My constituents are my party room and I need their input,” Ms McGowan said.
“My election commitment was to consult and engage with the communities in Indi. I really want to hear from the people of Indi on how this Budget will affect them and their communities.”
When Ms McGowan returns to Indi at the end of the week, she will start an intensive process of community consultation seeking feedback.
“Every resident of Indi is invited to tell me their three priority issues; especially families, students, pensioners, business owners, farmers, veterans and young people. I want to hear the stories of how people think their lives and businesses will be affected as a result of the Budget,” Ms McGowan said.
“Please contact my office by phone, email or comment on my website and take to social media. Over the next three weeks I will be travelling through the electorate, holding listening posts, doing street walks, talking with people at events and speaking with local media.”
For more information, contact the office of Cathy McGowan on 03 5721 7077 or visit www.cathymcgowan.com.au.
Ms McGowan will also be seeking comment on other Budget announcements, including
- Increase in fuel excise
- Changes to higher education loan scheme
- Potential changes to the age pension
- Changes to welfare payments, including means testing and disability assessment
- Cutting funding to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
- the Albury Wodonga Corporation being wound up