News from 117 Murphy Street - Extended Budget Edition, May 16
Posted May 16, 2014
What a week and what a Budget to consult with the people of Indi on! The 2014-15 Budget papers have received more media scrutiny and provoked as much public commentary as any in memory.
Cathy sat in the House of Reps on Tuesday and Thursday nights to watch Treasurer Joe Hockey deliver his first Budget and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s first Budget Reply. It was a huge learning experience but a gratifying one.
Before voting on the Budget in June, Cathy wants to engage with the people of Indi to learn what their three priority issues are out of the Budget. The Budget Impact Tour starts tomorrow in Wodonga in front of Coles on High Street at 8.30am. It’s been a quick mobilisation of volunteers willing to assist Cathy on the whirlwind tour. Next week Cathy will be setting up Listening Posts in Wangaratta, Mansfield, Wodonga and Benalla (see information below).
Having been allocated a Question Time slot for Thursday afternoon, Cathy asked Treasurer Joe Hockey whether the conditions young people face in rural areas—poor mobile phone coverage and internet, lower access to higher education, no public transport options, 17.5 per cent unemployment—had been factored into the Government’s proposal to alter the eligibility for social security payments.
This drew plenty of feedback on social media as people reacted to the Treasurer’s response and gave their opinion on how the changes would impact on youth.
But it wasn’t all Budget in Canberra. Four members of the Wangaratta RSL sub-branch—Norm Fearn, current president Dr Warren Garrett, Jim Cozens, Ken Clarke OAM—visited Canberra for several days on Cathy’s invitation, and the men were in the gallery for a tension-filled Question Time on the day of the Budget.
On Wednesday, the quartet met with Cathy to discuss Rural City of Wangaratta and RSL issues, and joined her as guests for lunch in the Members Dining Room. Cathy felt honoured and privileged to have their company and thanked for taking the time and effort to visit the Indi Canberra office. Other RSL sub-branches in Indi are also welcome to make the trek up the Hume to take in the sights and potential action in Parliament House.
Two morning teas were held at Parliament House this week: the Biggest Morning Tea, which raises money for important research into cancer, and another to recognise Food Allergy Week.
Cathy learned how one in 10 babies will develop a food allergy within 12 months of being born, and heard some harrowing stories at the event. She supports the call to make research into lowering the incidence rate a national health priority.
Another highlight for Cathy in a busy week was meeting with Alexandra Secondary College student, Emma Malley, who was in Canberra for the week after being accepted into the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship 2014. Emma couldn’t have had a better week, sitting in on the Budget the Budget Reply and Question Time when Cathy posed her question.
Next week’s diary is jam packed: Listening Posts, catching up with constituents, meeting with the Indi Blackspots committee, visiting the Koorie First Steps Preschool, spending a full day in the Mansfield area. In between all this, Cathy is reading Too Many Elephants in This House at the Wodonga Library at 11am for National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday!
Cathy McGowan Listening Posts
Saturday, 17 May 2014, 8:30-10am Coles, Wodonga
Saturday 17 May 2014, 2-4pm Barnawartha Football Reserve, Barny v Kiewa Sandy Ck
Monday, 19 May, 4:30-6pm Kiosk, corner Murphy and Reid streets, Wangaratta
Tuesday, 20 May, 2-3pm Outside the Cube, Wodonga
Thursday, 22 May, All day Broken River Visit (Swanpool, Mansfield, Bonnie Doon)
Friday 23 May 4:30pm-6:00pm Wangaratta, Coles Supermarket
Saturday 24 May 8:30am-9:30am Chiltern Outside the Bakery
Saturday 24 May 10:30am-12:00pm Benalla, Outside Mitchell Health, Bridge Street