OPINION

October 2, 2020

On Tuesday, October 6, the federal government will unveil its Budget for the coming year. Our region, which has been through drought, bushfires, COVID-19 and the border shutdown, needs to see serious investment from the government in this Budget.

As the Member for Indi, when it comes to funding promises, my job is two-fold. First, I must ensure that the government commits to investing in Indi. Second, I must ensure that it actually delivers on those promises. Not just an announcement that sounds good on the night, but actual money on the ground.

This is the scrutiny I bring to every single promise that is made to the people of Indi.

The last time the government made significant funding commitments to Indi was in the 2019 election campaign. The Coalition committed to funding 17 local projects in Indi with almost $119 million.

After I was elected, I committed to ensuring that the government delivers on each of these. And so, one of my first acts as the MP was to commission analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office, the independent costing agency, to identify exactly how these 17 projects would be funded and by when.

Since then, I’ve worked with our local communities, councils, and Ministers to ensure that the government delivers.

Today I am releasing this analysis so every resident of Indi can see for themselves how I have worked for the past year to ensure we receive the funding we were promised, and how I will continue to work to ensure that the government’s Budget promises are met.

Funding has now been delivered for 15 of the 17 projects committed in the 2019 election. This is a fantastic result. And it shows that scrutiny and follow-up bring outcomes.

For instance, I identified that $2.5 million funding for a specialist clinic at Albury-Wodonga Health, despite being committed in 2019, was not scheduled to flow until 2022-23. That’s not until after the next election.

Working with Albury-Wodonga Health, I secured agreement from the Health Minister to fast-track that funding to flow this year. This is a huge win for our community and means we can access these better health services two years sooner.

Much-needed upgrades to our sporting facilities, like the Wodonga Hockey Club revamp and the Baranduda Fields complex, will soon be underway. The $250,000 Baranduda Scouts Hall refurbishment will be complete within a fortnight. And the $5 million stadium at Wodonga Senior Secondary College is on track.

But our communities are yet to see any real progress on the two largest projects, making up 64 per cent of all the money promised to Indi.

The $64 million McKoy Street overpass, promised in 2019, remains in the planning phase and the project must wait until 2023 for the bulk of this funding. And the $12 million mental health clinic at Albury Wodonga Health won’t receive a cent until after the next election and won’t be completed until 2025 at the earliest.

For communities that have experienced and endured bushfires, COVID-19 and the chaos of the border closure, this funding, especially for mental health, is very distant indeed.

I am releasing these details of my work on the 2019 election commitments today because I will be taking the same approach to funding commitments made in the Budget on October 6.

I hope that the government comes to the table and properly invests in Indi.

Working with our local councils, I’ve put forward a $750 million economic recovery plan for Indi to be considered in this year’s Budget. This plan details 46 local projects that would not only create jobs quickly but would build our regional economy for the long term.

Shovel-ready projects like the Junction Place Conference Centre and the Hothouse Theatre redevelopment would be a crucial boost for local tradies and add to the vibrancy of Wodonga.

Upgraded roads at the LOGIC centre would allow our local industry to grow, and better access roads at the new Baranduda Fields complex would enable facilities there to host larger events.

Next week, after the Budget is handed down, we all will be able to measure if the government has listened to our local communities and invested in these and other significant projects across Indi.

After a shocker of a year, our region needs a leg up. I’m determined to see we get it.

  • View Parliamentary Budget Office analysis of the Coalition’s 2019 Indi election commitments
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