Indi Weekly Scoop – final edition for the First Term
Posted May 05, 2016
The 44th Parliament has closed and the Indi Weekly Scoop will go into hiatus. Thanks to everyone for their support and subscribing to get an understanding of Cathy’s role being the effective Independent Member for Indi. Don’t miss out on any news, stay informed through Facebook – CathyMcGowanForIndi, Twitter @Indigocathy and visit www.cathymcgowan.com.au throughout the election campaign.
2016-17 Budget wrap
The highlight of the Budget for Indi was the Government’s $594 million allocation to the Inland Freight Rail project. This funding has been committed for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to acquire land and pre-construction works. This decision has been long-awaited by businesses in Indi, including Logic in Wodonga.
While changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate will be disappointing for the 115 wineries in Indi, further details are needed to determine whether the rorts identified in the Senate inquiry will be addressed. Local wineries have called for loopholes to be closed immediately. The WET rebate changes will result in the rebate cap being reduced from $500,000 to $350,000 from 1 July 2017, and then $290,000 from 1 July 2018.
Health and Aged care
Small rural aged care providers in Indi will benefit from the replacement of the outdated remoteness classification system. Funding will now be allocated using more up-to-data from the ABS and Census data to better target needs.
Youth entrepreneurship initiatives will be welcome in Indi. The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme will be expanded and new Exploring My Own Boss workshops, the Self-Employment Starter Pack and Inclusive Entrepreneurship Facilitators, will support work being done in the North East. Cathy and the Beechworth-based Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship lobbied Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy, to ensure the Government understands the importance of these programs to regional communities.
Higher education reforms have been put on hold for at least a year. The Government will hold further consultation about the reforms. Ms McGowan welcomed this outcome and will continue to lobby for a regional plan for higher education. It is vital that students and universities in regional Australia are not disadvantaged in any education reforms.
Current and former Australian Defence Force members in North East Victoria will get better access to mental health services. The Government has committed $38 million over four years to extend access to treat PTSD and depressive disorders. Indi has a large defence force community. This will be good news for those soldiers and their families who need these services.
Women and children must feel safe in their homes. Cathy looks forward to Third Action Plan initiatives announced in the Budget, aimed at stopping violence occurring in the first place, and preventing re-offending to seeing programs rolled out in our region to help women and children in domestic violence situations.
The continuation of programs to support local government, including the Roads to Recovery, Black Spot (Roads) Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity, Bridges Renewal, National Network Maintenance, is a positive. However, the failure to lift the freeze on the indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants will continue to have significant negative impacts on councils in Indi.
Overall response to Budget
Cathy supported general measures the Government announced to get the Budget under control, particularly the new tax avoidance measures targeting multinationals, and superannuation changes to make the system fairer.
Report highlights telecommunications needs
Resolving poor access to internet and mobile phone coverage is a key recommendation tabled in the Smart Farming report. The report, commissioned by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry, was established to make recommendations to address efficiencies in agricultural practice through new and emerging technology, and barriers to taking up technology. The report recommends the Federal Government commits to the continuation of the Mobile Black Spot Programme (MBSP) beyond Round Two. This is particularly relevant due to the lack of funding in the 2016-17 Budget for continuing the MBSP. Access to education was also highlighted and the recommendation that the Federal Government target funding for the development of innovative education strategies for agriculture. Indi farmers had direct input to these recommendations. Out of 100 submissions made to the Inquiry, 15 were from Indi. Local groups, including the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project (AVDPP), Charles Sturt University, Rutherglen Premium Lamb and North East Catchment Management Authority, presented to the hearing in Wodonga in January 2016. Cathy thanked Indi stakeholders for their submissions to the inquiry and looks forward to working with them in the future. Smart Farming report online. Please click here to see Cathy’s speech about the recommendations.
Fixing the train service for long-suffering passengers on the North East line is a serious issue. The $15 million refurbishment of rollingstock announced in the Victorian Budget was a welcome short-term measure. It is disappointing the Infrastructure and Transport and, Darren Chester, did not take the issue seriously. Click here to view the Minister’s response to the Question Without Notice.
House of Reps Legislation passed
Supply Bill (NO. 1) 2016-2017
Supply Bill (NO. 2) 2016-2017
Supply (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (no. 1) 2016-2017
Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy and Medicare Levy Surcharge) Bill 2016
Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Incentives for Innovation) Bill 2016
Financial System Legislation Amendment (Resilience and Collateral Protection) Bill 2016
National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment Bill 2016
National Disability Insurance Scheme Savings Fund Special Account Bill 2016
Indi Funding News!
Saluting Their Service grant - Benalla RSL Sub-branch – $750 – to create a Vietnam War honour board commemorating former students of Benalla College.
Have your say!
Young people, have your say about our political process and how you want to be involved. A Democracy for Millennials workshop is being held in Wodonga next week on Tuesday, 10 May, at Quest. Register here.
Have your say!
Horticulture and viticulture are vital industries in Indi. Farmers and grape-growers can meet with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at a workshop in Wodonga on Tuesday, 7 June. The workshops will help the ACCC learn about supply chain, and competition and fair-trading issues. Information and registration here.
Saturday, May 7 - Albury District Debutante Ball – 6.15pm
Sunday, May 8 - Wangaratta Mother’s Day Classic – 8am
IMAGE: Cathy admiring the orange leaves at Parliament House