Health tops Indi's kitchen table talk

Cathy McGowan presenting at a previous Voice for Indi meeting.
Cathy McGowan presenting at a previous Voice for Indi meeting.

BETTER public transport, health and access to broadband internet are some of the major issues concerning North East residents.

This was revealed in the Voice for Indi group’s “kitchen table conversations project”.

More than 400 people from across Indi took part in the study in March and April.

The aim was to find what matters to people in the electoral process, especially in the lead-up to September’s federal poll.

The report was launched at a Voice for Indi event in Wangaratta on Sunday, during which the group announced it was backing rural consultant Cathy McGowan as an independent candidate.

It found the broader-scale concerns of Indigo residents included a desire for respectful political debate, leadership and long-term solutions to major issues.

These included global warming, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, education reforms, Murray Darling Basin management, food security, the power and influence of the media and “the compassionate treatment of refugees”.

The report further found people wanted a political representative “who truly represents the electorate, is strongly connected to the community, is accessible, visible, responsive and pro-active and is our voice in the political process”.

Member for Indi Sophie Mirabella has carried out her own survey of the electorate, with the results expected to be released this week.

The people who took part in the Voice of Indi study said effective representation was about building relationships.

“Respect for the people of the electorate and being worthy of respect were strong themes, as well as listening, honesty, integrity and politeness,” the report says.

After being named as the Voice for Indi-backed candidate, Ms McGowan said she would be providing the choice the electorate had been asking for.

This reflected one of the key findings of the report, that participants were concerned about wanting an MP to serve the electorate first.

“They also wanted long-term planning and local political representatives, without party politics coming between the representative and the wants and needs of the community,” the report says.

“The involvement of young people in political debate and understanding democracy is seen as important.”