Helen Haines champions national rural health plan

For immediate release: May 7, 2019

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines says a national rural health plan and more funding for rural health research will help close significant health care gaps faced by country people.

“I’ve spent my life as a nurse, midwife and rural health researcher working to improve health services in our region,” Dr Haines said outside Northeast Health Wangaratta.

“It’s still my priority.

“We Australians who call country communities home – and we make up 28 per cent of national population – experience 1.3 times the total burden of disease. Yet successive governments don’t give us priority.

“We need a clear focus on rural health.

“We need a national rural health plan that responds to the proposals put by the National Rural Health Alliance to bring health services and opportunities for people in country communities to a level considered standard in our major cities.

“We need rural health specialists and allied health professionals and support staff – a workforce which can train locally and have use of the technology, infrastructure and equipment to deliver the highest quality care.

“The reality in 2019 is that people in country communities still have fewer opportunities to access the health care they should expect. Your postcode should not determine your health outcomes.

“Multidisciplinary teams, modern hospitals, investment in rural health research, primary care and health promotion are essential to improve and overcome the poorer health outcomes we see in rural areas.”

Dr Haines said she supported the call by National Rural Health Alliance for a $300 million investment to expand regional Australia’s allied health workforce.

Haines calls for Newstart rise

For immediate release: 6 May 2019

Contact: Jamie Kronborg | | 0409 912 967

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines today announced that if elected she will push for a $75 increase to the Newstart payment. Her announcement comes as a growing chorus of organisations warn that the payment is too low and that an increase would benefit regional economies like Indi.

“Newstart is meant to be a transitional payment for those in difficult times between jobs. But with the rate of Newstart payment so low, people are instead falling into poverty. How is someone supposed to find work if they don’t have a roof over their head of can’t afford to buy clothes for a job interview?”

“We all know the cost of living is rising. But in real terms Newstart hasn’t risen in over 25 years.”

Independent Helen Haines leads on climate and renewables opportunities

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines says Indi is in a unique position to lead Australia in the development and use of renewable energy to cut power prices and combat climate change.

“This is the climate election,” she said at the launch of her renewables and climate change policy in Wodonga today.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity for regional Australia to lead the way and show what communities can do – communities that are way ahead of the federal government in stepping up to meet the challenge of climate change.

“We cannot wait for the coalition or Labor to lead. They’re yet to catch up with Indi and the rest of the world.

“We are at the forefront, with 11 of Australia’s 100 community energy projects up and working in Indi. We are setting up opportunities for our children and instead of playing catch-up on renewables, we are leading.

“Investment in reneable energy in Indi will create jobs for our young people, it will create opportunities for them to start businesses and to build on the technical expertise that we are developing in Indi. All of this will help provide reliable, cheaper power and jobs.”

Dr Haines said Indi had the sun, hills, wind and skills to lead the nation in the production of clean, locally-generated renewable energy.

“We are already doing this in North East Victoria, with Totally Renewable Yackandandah setting the target, aiming to have the whole community relying completely on renewables for its energy by 2022,” she said.

“This idea, from a community that has always walked towards possibility, is spreading to others in the North East – taking us towards a ‘totally renewable Indi’, the prospect envisaged, shaped and set on a path by the retiring Indi MP, Cathy McGowan AO.

“This community investment in renewables will create more jobs and opportunities locally, with the ultimate benefit of limiting damage to our planet.”

Dr Haines said Australian communities were acting on their own because of the federal government’s energy policy vacuum of the past six years.

“Australians are demanding a comprehensive, national plan for how we should proceed,” she said.

Coalition leaving older Australians waiting

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines has called out the Coalition government for leaving thousands of older Australians languishing on waiting lists for home care packages.

Visiting Westmont Aged Care at Baranduda near Wodonga today, Dr Haines said she would push the next federal government to commit to delivering home care packages for older people in Victoria’s North East within 90 days of assessment. At the moment delivery is blowing out beyond 12 months.

Dr Haines, a board member of St Catherine’s Aged Care Hostel in Wangaratta and former nurse, said almost 23 per cent of Indi’s residents were aged 65 or older – about 8pc higher than the number of Victorians in the same age group.

Older people make up 27.5pc of Strathbogie shire’s population and more than 25pc of the population in Towong and Benalla local government areas.

“People want to stay in their own homes and in the communities where they have family and near the friends they have made over many years,” Dr Haines said.

“Home care support packages funded by the federal government enable people in our Indi communities to do this as they grow older.

“But there’s a serious gap that government needs to close.

“In this year’s federal Budget – put to parliament just before the election was called – this government added only 10,000 home care packages to the number available across the country.

“This leaves more than 120,000 Australians – including many in Indi – still on the waiting list for in-home services long after their applications for home care have been approved.

“Too little, too late” Independent slams Morrison Government record on rural health

For immediate release: April 21, 2019
For comment: Helen Haines | 0436 122 029
Download PDF here

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines said the Morrison Government's announcement of $100m for rural clinical trials is welcome news but too little, too late for a government that has failed to prioritise rural health.

“I welcome Mr Morrison's fresh concern for rural health and clinical trials,” Dr Haines said. “But this is an ad-hoc response in the heat of an election campaign when what we really need is a long-term, national rural health plan.”

“Rural health policy should be driven through a dedicated rural health portfolio. We had such a portfolio, but it was axed by this government when they dumped Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister last year.


Independent Helen Haines condemns push to privatise the ABC and calls for increased funding

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines today condemned proposals to privatise the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and promised to champion more funding for the national broadcaster if elected to federal Parliament on May 18.

Dr Haines said a strong ABC was vital for rural communities and called on all candidates publicly to oppose privatisation.

“The ABC is crucial for regional and rural communities like ours in Indi,” she said.

“Not only does it help to connect our people and communities during bushfires and other emergencies – it tells rural and regional stories that city-based commercial media organisations just don’t cover.

“From Violet Town to Corryong and Mansfield to Rutherglen, I have heard again and again how important the ABC is to the people of Indi.

“I am deeply concerned by this revived push by the Sydney-based Institute of Public Affairs to privatise the ABC.

“We know the IPA has the ear of the Liberal Party so we need strong advocates for our national broadcaster elected to Parliament who will stand up for the ABC and its independence.

View Helen Haines' ABC policy statement here.

Independent Helen Haines joins call for national integrity commission

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines today committed to advance the interests of the people and communities of Indi above all others and to conduct an honest campaign when she lodged her federal election nomination in Wangaratta.

Indi leads community energy roll-out

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines says clever government policy could cement Indi as a
community energy leader and enable North East Victoria to become regional Australia's model for
the roll-out of community investment in renewable power generation.

Helen Haines launches campaign for Indi

For immediate release: Sunday 7 April 2019

“I will not be there to serve a party. I’ll be there for my community.” Independent Candidate for Indi Helen Haines Launches Campaign

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines has launched her campaign for Indi with a promise to always put the interests of Indi first.

In front of a packed out auditorium of over 250 supporters, the Wangaratta nurse, midwife and health researcher identified regional development and investment, health, education and renewable energy as the key issues she will campaign for.

“If elected, I am committed to fighting for the same quality of education, health and communications services as those enjoyed in the city. Services that truly serve our needs and that are close to where we live, not a four hour drive away.”

Renewable energy collaboration responds to change

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines believes the federal government should use tonight’s Budget to deliver support for a collaborative partnership developing Victoria’s first community energy and economic hub in the North East.