Meetings lead to strides forward

By Benalla Ensign

Member for Indi Cathy McGowan said regular roundtable meetings held with local government councils in her electorate had proven highly effective in representing their concerns to the Federal Government.

At this week’s local government roundtable meeting at Wangaratta, Ms McGowan said the relationship she had developed with the councils during her two terms had improved communication with the Federal Government and led to stronger working relationships between council leaders and Canberra.

“Mayors and CEOs have also come to Canberra and followed up on their priority projects with relevant minister’s departmental staff. We have worked well together,” Ms McGowan said.

“This successful model has benefited all parties and I encourage all LGAs in Indi to continue these meetings with the new Member for Indi, as soon as possible after the election.

“This strategic link between the federal MP and the local councils is vital.”

Ms McGowan said she was waiting on a response from government to the Regions at the Ready report and the regional deal for Albury Wodonga.

She stressed how important this was for the future planning and sustainability of rural and regional areas.

Ms McGowan said she had sent the councils’ budget issues and requests to the prime minister for consideration in the April 2 Federal Budget.

She also gave the meeting an update on mobile phone tower installations and noted there would not be a fourth round of funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Ms McGowan spoke about representations to government on the inadequate rules on flood disaster recovery funding and urged affected councils to continue to put pressure on governments in relation to the North East Rail Line and the $235 million in funding received to fix mudholes.

“We have made some important progress on many issues and the strengthening of relationships between councils, my office and the Federal Government has worked, especially for the benefit of the communities in the council areas,’’ Ms McGowan said.