Local, Independant and Effective

Indi Weekly Scoop September 11, 2015

Posted September 10, 2015



  • Australia welcomes Syrian refugees
  • New report demonstrates ABC’s importance for rural Australia
  • Senate acts on young unemployed
  • Men’s Sheds: further funding of $4.5 million
  • Indigo’s road sealing great – now let’s get rail action!

 Australia opens its heart

The unprecedented imperative of the Syrian refugee crisis has caused the Government to commit to an additional 12,000 refugees being admitted to Australia. The decision was welcomed by Cathy who noted Indi’s success and strength in dealing with previous refugees over many decades, most recently those from Bhutan. Some local governments have resettlement officers. Make contact with them to seek further information on how you might help.

Call to fund regional ABC coverage

The Australia Institute’s report into the ABC was launched this week by former independent MP Tony Windsor and hosted by Cathy at Parliament House (pictured above). The report is entitled Heartland: Why the bush needs its ABC. “The public wants more regional news, and as taxpayers they’re willing to pay for it,” said The Australia Institute’s executive director Ben Oquist. In a speech on Wednesday, Cathy called on the Government to “put rural and regional people right at the front of the budget – more money for the ABC, more money for local news and more money for those fantastic reports that cover what we do in rural and regional Australia.” A significant majority of Australians support additional funding for the ABC’s regional news services – 64% of people in rural and remote areas.

 No waiting for young unemployed

Senate this week voted down the Government’s attempt to increase to four weeks the waiting period for young people to claim unemployment benefits. Cathy welcomed the decision and pointed to the 17.7% (seasonally adjusted, annual) youth unemployment rate in Hume. The July rate for Hume was 27%. “Changes to social service payments proposed in the 2014-15 Budget were very unpopular with people surveyed in my Budget Impact Tour,” she said. “A four-week waiting period for a social security payment was unacceptable.”

 Men’s Shed funding guaranteed

Cathy welcomed news of the Federal Government’s commitment to continue funding Men’s Shed projects for a further 3 years. The Federal Government’s $4.5 million combines with the State Government’s $60,000 to fund 15 new Men’s Sheds across the state. Wahgunyah will soon be home to the 21st Men’s Shed in Indi. Cathy recognises the importance of these communal hubs for men, particularly in rural and remote locations. They assist in men’s mental health and wellbeing, often at life transition points such as retirement. “It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity as the local federal member to tour many of these Men’s Sheds and see their importance to the community.” Round 11 funding is currently open to assist with tools and equipment, building maintenance and programs. Applications close September 18.

 Asphalt and rails: both need support

The announcement this week of the completion of sealing for some key roads in Indigo Shire Council was welcomed by Cathy. But she called on Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development to show a similar commitment to trains as well. “With the people of Indi unable to rely on train services to access important and vital services such as medical appointments in Melbourne, it’s time to act. Trains and locomotives are limping towards a replacement date that remains unknown. This is a deplorable state of affairs that needs to be taken seriously by Government.”

 Legislation passed by the House of Representatives this week:

  • Water Amendment Bill 2015
  • Banking Laws Amendment (Unclaimed Money) Bill 2015
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Bill 2015
  • Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Primary Television Broadcasting Service) Bill 2015

Hansard legislation: http://bit.ly/1K9sPxz

 Stronger Communities Program

The Stronger Communities Programme (SCP) is providing funding for small capital projects in local communities. The Indi Stronger Communities Programme Advisory Committee (ISCPAC) is consulting with the community on priorities and projects. The committee is made up of representatives from the 9 Councils in Indi. Head to: http://bit.ly/1VOSUuf

 Get involved!

Agricultural Innovation Inquiry

Share ideas about “Agricultural Innovation” with a submission to the current parliamentary inquiry. Until September 25.

 Float your concerns with Government

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) is taking submissions on the impacts of their water plan.
Feedback by September 25 at the Submissions page. Public Hearing in Echuca: November 5.

 Parliamentary entitlements – have your say

The review into entitlements for Federal politicians seeks submissions from the public until October 21. Terms of Reference and submission information available online.

 Funding opportunity

Men’s shed initiatives

Round 11 of Australian Government National Shed funding is open. Applications close September 18. Information on the website.

 Nominate outstanding volunteers

Nominate an outstanding volunteer for the Victorian Premier's Volunteer Champions Awards 2015. Applications close September 15. Visit the site to do so.

 Cathy’s diary

  • Media conference, The Cube Café, Wodonga – Friday, September 11, 8:45 a.m.
  • Benalla Business Awards – BPACC – September 18, 6:00 p.m.
  • Parliament, September 14-17

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