Read the 2022 Indi Budget Submission.

Helen Haines, Independent Federal Member for Indi has called on the Government to fund vital economic projects across Indi to assist with the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working in partnership with local councils, Dr Haines has identified $350 million worth of shovel-ready projects in every corner of the electorate.

“Right across Indi there are projects ready to go, to increase jobs and tourism, to create opportunities for business and increase community amenity,” Dr Haines said.

“I have worked with local councils and community groups to put these projects to the Government, to ensure the projects that are most needed and will have the most impact are at the front of the queue.

“These projects have already developed business cases, the research and development work has been done, we just need to unlock the potential of these investments.

“North East Victoria has been hit hard by the pandemic, with restrictions, border closures and now the dampened impact on tourism. Our economy is strong, but it is time for the Government to step up with funding for crucial projects.”

The next budget is due to be delivered on March 29, scheduled earlier than usual ahead of an expected May election campaign.

“I am proud to present an evidence-based submission, with projects across many industries. As well as specific projects, this submission covers health infrastructure needs, youth unemployment, phone and internet investment and a federal integrity commission.

“As an Independent MP with long-standing and deep connections across the region, I am ensuring the voices of the community are being heard by the Treasurer as budget decisions are made.”

The budget submission includes a call for the Federal Government to chip in $300 million for a new hospital for Albury Wodonga.

“Albury Wodonga Health is one of the busiest health services in the state, and our region is growing quickly. We need a world-class hospital on the border to serve the North East region and ensure people can get the care they need, close to home,” Dr Haines said.

“The federal government must co-fund a new hospital in partnership with the NSW and Victorian state governments.”

Top-line projects in the budget submission include the Wodonga Logic logistics hub, which needs $5 million for sewer and storm water system installation and $15.2 million for road infrastructure.

“This project would create jobs, and position the Logic hub to take advantage of the inland rail project. The upgrades are designed and tender-ready,” Dr Haines said.

The Rural City of Wangaratta has identified the Prosecco Road Tourism Project as a top priority for the region surrounding Wangaratta

“Investment in three key project areas identified by Tourism North East is expected to drive $369 million in economic output and 1734 jobs – that is an increase of $100 million a year and 500 more jobs,” Dr Haines said.

“Increasing amenity in the King Valley will benefit residents and unlock potential for this region to take its place as one of Australia’s most visited and luxurious wine regions.”

Included in the submission is $7 million for the Benalla Art Gallery to expand gallery space and improve the interface between the gallery, Lake Benalla, the CBD and the heritage Botanical Gardens to create a unique point of difference for Benalla.

“Benalla Art Gallery is a huge drawcard for visitors to Benalla and this expansion would be a game-changer for the Rose city,” Dr Haines said.

The submission also calls on the Federal Government to engage with the Victorian Government to fund a new hospital for Mansfield.

The Mansfield District Hospital master plan involves the construction of a new hospital, including community health and high needs facilities at a greenfield site. The plan was submitted two years ago to the Victorian Health Building Authority but there has not been progress.

“Mansfield’s population has boomed since the start of the pandemic and the current hospital sustained $50,000 worth of damage in the recent earthquake,” Dr Haines said.

“We know the Government is aware of the need in Mansfield and now they must work with the Victorian Government to find the funds.”

The submission includes calls for funding for priority projects across the Alpine resorts, as well as funding for electric vehicle stations across the Alpine region.

“The Alpine resorts have been smashed by the bushfires and then two seasons impacted by COVID-19. Yet still, they are looking to innovate, to create opportunities for year-round tourism and to increase amenity for the community,” Dr Haines said.

The electric vehicle project, worth $600,000, would fund five Electric Vehicle charging stations to be installed across Alpine Shire. This will be critical for locals and attract tourists and increase the amount of time they spend in towns like Mt Beauty, Bright and Harrietville.”

The full budget submission can be found here.

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