Regional policy on meeting agenda
Federal Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has outlined her agenda for meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison next week. At the top of the list is holding him to his promise of a regional deal for Albury Wodonga.
“Councils and communities have come together to put forward a strong proposal. I’m calling on the Prime Minister to keep the promise he made in August last year for an Albury Wodonga Regional City Deal,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan said she will also urge Mr Morrison to release the government’s response to the Regions at the Ready: Investing in Australia’s Future report, which was tabled more than six months ago.
“A response from the government to the recommendations in the report is now overdue. The delay and lack of action on regional policy is having an impact on our communities,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan met with Population Minister Alan Tudge on Thursday to push for the recommendations in the Regions at the Ready report to be a part of the government’s approach to population policy. Key recommendations in the report include Regional City Deals, strengthening the Regional Development Australia (RDA) network and delivering development of a comprehensive Regional Australia Policy White Paper.
“The report calls on the government to develop a long-term plan and to work with communities to develop effective policy. Rural and regional Australia expects the government to deliver evidence-based policy. They want effective strategic planning to sit alongside existing grants-based programs,” Ms McGowan said.
Concerns about Tarrawingee, Everton and Eldorado’s access to disaster funding following the 13 December storms will also be raised at the meeting.
“At a community meeting on Wednesday night, Tarrawingee residents expressed concerns to me about being unable to access disaster funding. These are farmers, families and small business owners who are facing significant bills to fix damage caused by storms and flash flooding,” Ms McGowan said.
“The anomaly in access to disaster funding is an example of how ineffective policy impacts on rural and regional Australia, particularly small farming communities. I will be asking for a review of the criteria and what funding can be made available to assist the affected communities.”
Read the Regions at the Ready report at www.cathymcgowan.com.au/reports.