Local, Independant and Effective

Indi Weekly Scoop - February 27, 2015

Posted February 27, 2015



  • High Speed Rail – Government looking at it
  • AMFP Forum Launch, Wodonga
  • Action on Cathy’s committee report
  • Local councils will suffer from funding cuts
  • Action in Parliament
  • Community grants opportunities

Cathy welcomed Senator for Victoria, John Madigan, to Wodonga today for the launch of the Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program Forum. Cathy encourages schools and students to attend, and young people interested in manufacturing as a career to attend the forum on May 29. Information on the forum can be found here.

High Speed Rail – Government looking at it

High Speed Rail (HSR) will transform regional Australia. A Federal Government commitment is needed for the project to be given the green light. Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, told Parliament the Government agreed HSR would benefit regional Australia and the transport network between capital cities. Cathy welcomed the response from the Minister in Question Time and will work with the Government during negotiations with the states about the proposal. Cathy looks forward to seeing the work done by the Member for Bennelong, John Alexander, in investigating innovative finance options for this nation-building project.

Government to investigate Country-of-Origin labelling

Following on from the successful report A clearer message for consumers’ on the inquiry into country of origin labelling for food, Prime Minister Tony Abbott today committed to reform. The report was produced by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry of which Cathy is a member. Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, and Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, have been asked to present a reform proposal to Government.

Local councils will suffer from funding cuts

Cathy called on the Government to reverse its decision in the 2014/15 Budget to freeze the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants. Cathy gave the example of Towong Shire losing an estimated $658,000 in the next three years. This will lead to a reduction in key services including immunisation, maternal and child health, mobile library, road maintenance, and parks and gardens maintenance. Other councils in Indi will be in a similar position – running lean with little room to trim unless services disappear.

Two Private Members motions

Cathy gave notice of two Private Members Motions this week. The first calls on the Government to provide more funding to address the mobile phone coverage crisis in regional Australia. This will be debated in the House next week. The second calls on the Government to have trust in community institutions and respect for the independence of office holders to let them do their job.

Key legislation – Higher Education

While Cathy voted against the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment 2014 Bill, it was passed in the House of Representatives. She remains convinced the education reforms as outlined will disadvantage regional universities, students, families and communities. The Senate will now consider the legislation and Cathy will continue to lobby cross-bench Senators about the need to put regional Australia at the centre of the proposed reforms. 

Monster community support for climate change action

On Monday, Cathy tabled a portion of the Monster Climate Petition in Parliament. Victoria Women’s Trust collected well over 70,000 signatures in 2014 and brought the petition to Canberra in December last year. The petitioners asked the Government to respect the science and build a safe climate future for the next generations by promoting the need for deep reductions to carbon emissions.

Indi community speeches

The 2015 Hume Bank City2City Run Walk celebrates the two border cities. Cathy congratulated organisers, sponsors, volunteers and the 3500 participants on the successful community event. The $100,000 raised will support Albury Wodonga Health. The Border Ovarian Cancer Awareness Group and Wodonga Chamber of Commerce devised an innovative way to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. The local community and businesses jumped on board and Cathy made a speech on Tuesday to tell everyone how #TealRibbonDay was being recognised in Indi.

Community grants opportunities

Australia Post opened the 2015 Our Neighbourhood Community Grants this week. The grants program delivers up to $10,000 for community organisations. The program has four categories: digital inclusion, employment pathways, community inclusion, and disaster readiness.

Cathy encourages Indi community groups to apply for a grant to help fund projects that help build community spirit and resilience. Information and applications can be accessed here.

Community Heritage and Icons Grants 2014-15 Programme will provide funding to communities to undertake community engagement activities and awareness of places listed on Australia’s National Heritage List. Grants are available for individuals and community groups of between $2,500 and $10,000. Applications close at 2pm, Thursday, 5 March.

Cathy’s diary

  • First Friday Night Conversation, February 27, Wodonga office, 79 High Street, 5.30-7pm
  • Alexandra Cup, February 28
  • Parliament – March 2-6 

IMAGE: Volunteers Lachlan Edwards and Towong Shire manager economic development Lauren Elvin assist Cathy on the first Friday Night Conversation presentation to be held this evening at the Wodonga office, 5.30pm onwards.

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