Cathy looks to open a base in Wodonga

EDITORIAL:  Office is good for the voters

INDI MP Cathy McGowan is seeking to open a second electorate office, in Wodonga.

She wants to ensure residents “get the attention they deserve”.

Ms McGowan has lodged an application with the Department of Parliamentary Services, which will make the final decision on whether the office is allowed and where it would be located.

Under departmental rules, federal members representing electorates larger than 25,000 square kilometres are entitled to open a second, smaller office.

At 28,008 square kilometres, Indi falls well within this boundary and a second office is common among MPs with larger electorates, such as Farrer MP Sussan Ley, who has offices in Albury and Broken Hill.

Ms McGowan, whose office is at Wangaratta, said she decided on Wodonga primarily because it is Indi’s largest city.

“Wodonga people will have a place they can contact us directly,” she said.

It is understood her predecessor, Sophie Mirabella, had sought to open a second office in Alexandra but the necessary paperwork was not finalised before the last election.

Ms McGowan dismissed any suggestion that the southern half of the electorate could feel neglected if both offices were located on the northern side.

“No, not at all — I’ve been down there a number of times since being elected to meet councils and schools, and I will continue to keep in touch with them with regular visits,” she said.

“I think the cities are a different case.

“Wodonga and Wangaratta are clearly the largest cities with a lot of people coming through them.”

Ms McGowan said if granted, Wodonga could open in February.

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