Cathy McGowan: Member for Indi

Indi Weekly Scoop 28 October 2016

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Jeanie Hall, former Manager Economic Development and Tourism Benalla Rural City Council, Rob Carolane, Indi resident and consultant, and Steve Tinker, Regional General Manager Telstra at the Tatong Recreational Reserve.

INDI IN THE NEWS

Tatong mobile tower online – first of 30
Last Friday was a great day for Tatong, telecommunications and the power of an independent voice in Indi. Local people turned up in force to celebrate with Cathy the activation of the Tatong mobile phone base station, the first of 30 to be rolled out in Indi under the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program. Telstra CEO Andy Penn came along with Area General Manager Steve Tinker and other Telstra staff. Cathy explained to those gathered how she worked with people right across Indi through the Indi Telecommunications Action Group to identify the priority areas for mobile blackspot funding and develop a comprehensive plan for the whole electorate.

“I was told ‘you’re only an independent’ and we’d probably only get three towers,” Cathy said, but the result was that Indi received the third highest allocation in Australia.

The next location to have a mobile phone base station switched on will be Devil’s River near Taylor Bay on Lake Eildon.

Head of MDBA to visit Wodonga to hear local concerns
Next week the Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board Mr Neil Andrew AO will personally hear the concerns of farmers and businesses affected by releases of water from Lake Hume weir. The meeting in Wodonga has been set up by Cathy after the Murray River Action Group approached her in October with questions about the communication of the process of releasing water. After heading straight to Canberra to ask the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce for answers, Cathy was able to meet with MDBA representatives.

As well as MDBA, the Murray River Action Group and other landholders, the meeting will bring together representatives from the Bureau of Meteorology and Water NSWs.

INDI IN CANBERRA

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Mansfield Steiner School students see parliamentary processes in action
Students from Mansfield Steiner School visited Parliament House last week with staff Michael Brittain, Caz Wilson and Bec McMcillan. The students were an eager group who showed great interest in the processes of the House of Representatives during Question Time. They learned about what it meant to be an independent representative in the House, rather than belonging to a party. Cathy enjoys meeting school groups in Parliament. Contact the office if you would like to organise a visit. Funding is available to assist schools to organise tours.

Parliament sitting dates
The next sittings dates for parliament are:

  • 7-10 November
  • 21-24 November
  • 28 November - 1 December

INDI DELIVERS

Grant for solar farm in Wodonga
In good news for renewable energy projects in Indi, Wodonga Council and Renewable Albury Wodonga Energy have received a New Energy Jobs Fund Grant of $80,000 for a feasibility study and plan for a solar farm in Wodonga. The grant comes from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and is supplemented by a further $20,000 from the Council.

INDI INVOLVED

Business Incubator Support
Eligible corporations can now apply for funding under the federal government's new $23 million Incubator Support initiative. Matching grants between $10,000 and $500,000 are available for new and existing incubators. Visit www.business.gov.au for more information on the Incubator Support initiative.

Better internet for regional, rural and remote Australia: SkyMuster survey
If you already have a connection to the SkyMuster satellite or are waiting for it to be installed please complete the SkyMuster Survey 2016 being conducted by BIRRR (Better Internet for Rural and Regional Australia). The responses will assist in lobbying for better telecommunications for rural, regional and remote Australia. 

Make a public contribution to an audit: Australian National Audit Office 
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) allows members of the public, groups and organisations to provide information relating to an audit. For a complete list of audits open for contribution by members of the public visit the ANAO website at  or follow the ANAO on Twitter for updates.

Inquiry into Educational Opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students has been re-referred
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs has announced that its inquiry into educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from the 44th Parliament has been re-referred to the Committee for further inquiry. The inquiry aims to identify the best opportunities and pathways for Indigenous students to assist them to succeed in school, regardless of whether they live in a remote community or in a regional or urban centre. Submissions can be made until Friday 25 November.

ABOUT DI THOMAS

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Di Thomas is Cathy's Chief of Staff. Di was most recently the editor of the Shepparton News and previously The Border Mail. Di says that she is loving the diversity of the role, and she especially appreciates being back in North East Victoria.

If you enjoy what you are reading in the Scoop or would like to see other information covered, please let me know by emailing jane.still@aph.gov.au. 

- Jane


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