MEDIA STATEMENT

June 18, 2021

The following comments are attributable to Helen Haines MP: 

“I’m delighted that after many months of negotiation, the Government has finally signed on the dotted line to deliver its election commitment to the students of Wangaratta, Mansfield and Corryong with the reannouncement of the CUC Ovens Murray.

“The former Minister for Education promised up to $4 million when announcing the study hub over two years ago in 2019. Today’s announcement of $2.5 million is less than the capped announcement, but I am confident the model will serve the needs of our community”.

While the commitment of $2.5 million is significantly less than the ‘up to $4 million” that former Minister for Education promised back in 2019”

The Morrison Government will provide up to $4 million to support the establishment of the Regional Study Hub. We have already provided $24.2 million to support study hubs in 22 locations around Australia as part of our $490 million investment in regional higher education.

“Rates of tertiary education attainment in Indi have long lagged behind the national average, as the models of learning are either done completely online or only available if you move away from your family, home and work.

“This allows rural and regional people to have the ability to access the best parts of tertiary education in a way that fits around their busy lives”

After the Federal Budget was handed down on May 11, I ran a survey to hear what the people of Indi think about new funding announcements, and if it would make a difference to their lives.

An astounding 1,402 Indi residents took five minutes to respond to my call. Today I have published the results of that survey. You can read the Indi Budget Survey Report now.

The survey respondents were diverse. It included everyone from young school leavers in Wangaratta, to aged care workers in Bright and retired veterans in Wodonga. One third of respondents live in Wodonga (14%), Wangaratta (10%) and Benalla (7%). The remaining two-thirds came from smaller towns and regions.

The overall feedback was clear. Big budget announcements mean nothing until there is real change on the ground that people can see.

The results show that overwhelmingly, people in Indi believe the Government should be doing much more on renewable energy and climate, integrity in politics, the housing crisis and health.

While people in Indi welcome new funding for aged care and mental health, they generally have very low confidence in the ability of the Government to ultimately deliver real change.

The report shows that of the Indi residents surveyed:

  • 81 per cent believe the Government should do more on renewable energy and climate.
  • 70 per cent believe there aren’t enough aged care workers to meet community need.
  • Respondents had very low confidence in the Government’s ability to actually fix the aged care system. Their average confidence level was 3 out of 10.
  • 69 per cent of people who’ve tried to access mental health services in the past 12 months experienced major barriers including lack of services, cost and wait times.
  • Respondents had very low confidence in the Government’s ability to fix the mental health system. Their average confidence level was 2 out of 10.
  • Two thirds believe housing prices in Indi are too expensive, and that more should be done to help people in regional Australia buy a home.
  • 50 per cent of respondents with children said the new $1.8 billion child care package would not change their ability to take up child care.
  • Respondents were very concerned for women’s safety and economic security: the average concern level was 8 out of 10. The same people weren’t convinced the Government can actually effect change: the average confidence level was 3 out of 10.

As a community independent I listen to my community and put their views first.

The results of this survey will inform my work over the coming months in Parliament, including how I vote on Bills and upcoming meetings with Ministers and the Prime Minister.

The full Indi Budget Survey Report can be found on my website: https://www.helenhaines.org/media/indi-budget-survey-report-2021.

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