Local, Independant and Effective

Indi Weekly Scoop - extended edition, February 6

Posted February 06, 2015


cropped_train_trip_sthn_cross_arrival_Feb_5_2015.jpg WARNING: You’ll need two cups of coffee and an extra slice of raisin toast to get through this week’s Scoop.

“School” was in at Wodonga on Monday with higher education on the agenda. Local universities, La Trobe and Charles Sturt, partnered with Cathy in hosting the successful Forum on Regional and Rural on Monday. Representatives from all political parties joined more than 130 attendees to discuss the future direction for tertiary education in regional Australia.

An eight-point plan was produced to lead to sustainable and accessible higher education:

  1. Regional tertiary education warrants a higher order policy focus
  2. Regional tertiary education policy would benefit from a principle driven approach, which includes putting regional student, community and economic needs at centre of policy design
  3. There is a need to holistically consider relationships between communities, employers and individuals within regional tertiary education policy
  4. There is a need to stimulate demand for regional higher education through targeted schools and community outreach
  5. There is a need to better support interaction across TAFE and higher education, and cut through perceptions of cost shifts between State and Commonwealth governments
  6. Demand for regional higher education would benefit from improved capacity for institutions to offer high status and demand programs in regional locations
  7. Demand for regional higher education would benefit from investment in high speed internet and collaborative learning infrastructure (TAFE – university, multi-versity)
  8. Regional higher education would benefit from fairer access to contestable funding streams such as research funding

Three major factors were also highlighted that need to be followed to enhance higher education:   

  • Provide better pathways for students from secondary school to TAFE and university
  • Encourage workforce training to upskill employees and a whole-of-life approach
  • Promote live where you study – better outcomes for students, business and communities

For the first sitting week of Parliament for 2015, Cathy has arranged meetings with Senators for Victoria, Ricky Muir and John Madigan, and potentially Sen for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie Cross-bench senators are not sold on the deregulation model being put forward by Government.

Commuters on the NE rail line can expect a draft Regional Network Development Plan to be with the Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allan, in six months. Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has carriage of the plan’s production and implementation. This was a major outcome from the train trip to Melbourne yesterday. Member for Murray, the Hon Dr Sharman Stone joined Cathy on Thursday in experiencing the train ride to Melbourne. (Pictured with Border Rail Action Group members and V/Line regional manager, North & North Eastern, Jonathan McKeown at Southern Cross.)

Both MPs are encouraging PTV to have rigorous community consultation to inform the draft plan. Priorities for the NE/Central line are:

  • new rolling stock,
  • appropriate scheduling and timetable,
  • freight
  • long-term planning
  • adequate funding

Commuters on the 6.45am train from Wodonga on Thursday were keen to give their feedback. The service has strong support but the constant delays, sporadic buffet car opening times, scheduling and timetables continue to irk users. Communication needs to be improved to keep the public apprised with the latest information to service alterations, including changes from train to bus. Visit Facebook for more coverage. 

On arrival in Melbourne (20 minutes behind schedule) Cathy and Dr Stone met with Premier Daniel Andrews to talk trains, mobile phone coverage and cross-border anomalies. The Premier was very receptive and showed a firm understanding of the issues hampering the rail service and upsetting train users. Mr Andrews described the service as critically important and has committed to completing a regional strategic plan which includes regional rail and transport infrastructure.

On Tuesday, Senator Madigan was in Wodonga meeting with Cathy and Wodonga City Council. Together with Cathy and the council, Sen Madigan will host a forum in May to highlight the positive things happening in the sector and promoting manufacturing as a good career move. Cathy encourages the sector to become involved in the forum to help showcase manufacturing in the North East. She is confident with the right planning, support and education training, manufacturing can grow sustainably in Indi.

Cathy is attending a Murray Darling Basin Authority meeting in Yea tomorrow. Sen Madigan is hosting the forum at the Murrindindi Shire Council at 10am. For details, visit Sen Madigan’s website on putting the Murray under the microscope.

This time last week Cathy was sitting by the banks of Lake Nilahcootie at the inaugural Youth Politicks Forum Indi Summer Camp. The forum focused on how politics works and how young people can have their voice heard. Join the Forum’s Facebook page to see outcomes from the weekend.

Cathy was pleased to see the Nationals converge on Indi this week. It’s great to see Indi receiving some national media; the Indi ‘brand’ has never been bigger! As the spotlight increases, the media may need to replace the bulb soon…


  • Murray Darling Basin Authority meeting, Yea, 10am, Murrindindi Shire Council
  • cheering at the North East Country Basketball League Grand Final, Wodonga – 6pm

 Next week:  

Parliament resumes Monday and Cathy’s focus remains on infrastructure needs for Indi. Cathy will deliver her second Closing the Gap speech, and has the first cross-bench question for the year on Monday in Question Time. Cathy will host her first post-Canberra press conference next Friday, February 13 at Café Grove from 8.45am onwards.

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