Independent Member for Indi Helen Haines has made the case for significant investment in projects that benefit Indi communities in her submission to the Government ahead of the May budget. 

The key themes of Dr Haines’ Indi Budget Submission reflect the widespread concerns of the electorate right now including increasing regional housing supply, providing cost-of-living relief and improving health outcomes. 

Dr Haines’ detailed funding proposals have been created in partnership with local councils, regional development groups and community stakeholders such as Albury Wodonga Health, Alpine Resorts Victoria, Tourism North East and TAFE. 

“The federal budget is a critical time for the government to invest in projects that are feasible, have merit and are supported by the community,” Dr Haines said. 

“My budget submission makes recommendations for measures that address common needs across the electorate, as well as projects that would create notable impact in specific regional communities. 

“I also call for the federal government to pledge extra funding to the redevelopment of Albury Wodonga Health, to deliver on the single-site hospital our region deserves.”  

Dr Haines has advocated fiercely for funding to address the housing crisis in regional and rural Australia. In her budget submission, Dr Haines urges the Government to establish a $2 billion Regional Housing Infrastructure Fund to build basic infrastructure needed to support new developments and social housing infrastructure. 

“The handbrake on housing supply in regional Australia is adequate funding for critical enabling infrastructure such as drainage, sewerage and road infrastructure for new developments. We need a dedicated fund to unlock investment in regional housing supply,” Dr Haines said. 

The budget submission also contains a suite of measures designed to ease cost-of-living pressures on individuals and families. These measures include:  

  • substantially increasing the rates of income support payments and rent assistance 
  • funding initiatives that reduce energy costs for households and small businesses  
  • more primary health care relief to lower healthcare expenses  
  • the continuation of fee-free TAFE 

“I am hearing from people every day that cost-of-living pressures are mounting. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and seeing a doctor. The Government must do more to incentivise bulk billing,” Dr Haines said. 

“I have long called for increases to income support payments so that everyone can live with dignity and meet their basic needs. The Government’s $2.86 per day rise in payments was not nearly enough particularly during a cost-of-living crisis. 

“My budget submission suggests practical measures the government can take now to lighten the load on households that would have positive and lasting economic effects including the continuation of fee-free TAFE.” 

Each of Indi’s nine local government areas are championed by Dr Haines’ in her budget submission. 

“I work shoulder to shoulder with community stakeholders to ensure Indi’s priorities are front of mind for the Treasurer in the lead up to the budget,” Dr Haines said. 

“With so many people relying on the services of Albury Wodonga Foodshare right now, securing the $15 million needed to bring the vision of the Foodshare Precinct to life is important and necessary. 

“I have called on the government to build a residential aged care facility at the Bright District Hospital to remedy the fact that Bright is the only township of its size in Victoria not to have high-needs residential aged care. 

“The Rural City of Wangaratta is seeking $6 million to increase the capacity of its organics processing plant from 12,000 to 25,000 tonnes per year, which will generate better environmental outcomes and create five full-time jobs. 

“To deliver the Benalla Art Gallery’s vision of becoming ‘the physical, experiential and conceptual meeting point in North East Victoria’ requires federal funding of $8 million for its redevelopment.  

“Frequent power outages have put energy security at the top of Strathbogie Shire’s agenda. Commonwealth funding of $5 million has been requested to support a large-scale micro-grid project in Euroa that would bring reliability to the local power supply.  

“A purpose-built integrated Early Years Hub would meet demand for childcare and kindergarten in Beechworth for $5 million. 

“I continue to press the Government for the $4 million needed to establish a Resilience and Recovery Hub within Mansfield’s Emergency Services Precinct. 

“Weather events have significantly impacted roads in Murrindindi Shire, with $10 million sought to maintain unsealed roads and a further $16 million to be invested across multiple infrastructure projects including the reinstatement of Breakaway Bridge in Acheron. 

“The Benambra Corryong Road upgrade is a priority of the Towong Shire with $40 million sought for the delivery of stage one of this project.  

“As Australia’s only full-time circus school for young people, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus is looking to employ more people. Over six years, an investment of $16 million would allow the Circus to continue its world-class training and performances under the supervision and management of a larger professional team. 

“The diversity of projects highlighted in the budget submission demonstrate the different and changing needs of Indi’s communities. The projects contribute to the safety and maintenance of public assets, emergency management and resilience, attracting visitors to our region, support for the most vulnerable and the education of our young people.” 

The full Indi Budget Submission can be found here. 


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