Win for Regional Australia and Indi in 2015-16 Budget
Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO’s work in Parliament is paying dividends for her electorate of Indi and regional Australia.
On top of the Budget, Indi received more than $12 million in round one of the Stronger Regions Fund announced tonight. Wodonga was the big winner, with Bright and Wahgunyah also benefiting from the fund.
- $10 million towards Wodonga City Heart project
- $1.87 million towards alpine Events Centre in Bright
- $200,000 to support Wahgunyah Recreation Reserve upgrade
“This is a real tribute to local government. These projects will add to growth, create jobs and give a real boost of confidence to locals for the future of Indi,” Ms McGowan.
Ms McGowan congratulated the Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, and Treasurer Joe Hockey with the Partnership for Regional Growth document in the Budget.
“The Government has responded to my call to be more inclusive with regional Australia,” Ms McGowan said.
“After last year’s Budget, I surveyed my community and the message was loud and clear, ‘The Government is not listening to us’.”
In March this year, Ms McGowan introduced her first Private Member’s Bill, Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment (Regional Australia Statements) Bill 2015. This called on the Government to identify the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of government initiatives.
Ms McGowan said her strategic approach to working with Government had delivered.
“An Independent gets results and the community can have input to Government planning,” she said. “I will continue fighting for the needs of Indi. When our regions thrive, Australia thrives.”
Measures that will benefit Indi include:
- Partnership for Regional Growth
- Jobs and Small Business package
- Stronger Communities program
- Families package
- Agricultural tax concessions – primary producers can receive immediate tax concession on new water facilities, three-year depreciation allowance for fodder storage assets, and fully deduct the cost of new fencing from tax bill.
“I welcome these programs in the Budget. Regional Australia will benefit from this funding to help build the capacity of our regions,” Ms McGowan said.
However the Budget also contained disappointments: no extra funding to fix the biggest problem in Indi, or a change of heart to help councils.
“There was no additional funding for mobile phone black spots, and the freezing of indexation to the Financial Assistance Grants remains in place,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan has concerns with the Government planning more transfer of service delivery through digital platforms when the internet reliability in much of Indi is poor.
“I call on the Government to ensure the speedy delivery of the NBN rollout. This is crucial for people to access services,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan’s 2015 Budget Impact Tour (BIT) starts today to get feedback on the 2015-16 Budget. People can get involved through completing a survey and volunteering on the BIT.
“Community consultation was an important commitment of mine before being elected,” she said. “People now have the confidence to speak up about issues with the knowledge their voice will be heard in Government.”
Visit www.cathy.mcgowan.com.au/bit for information. The BIT report will be launched on Friday, June 12.