The Victorian Liberal Party has established an office in the federal electorate of Indi, following former Liberal Member Sophie Mirabella's concession at this year's federal election.KAITLIN THALS December 4, 2013 4:10am
The Victorian Liberal Party has established an office in the federal electorate of Indi just months after former Liberal Member Sophie Mirabella was knocked from her perch.
Independent Cathy McGowan’s grassroots campaign helped her claim victory of the seat in September’s federal election, following Ms Mirabella’s concession in October.
The battle for Indi made headlines across the nation.
The announcement of the new Liberal Party office on Monday came just hours before Ms McGowan’s first speech at Parliament House.
Ms McGowan said she felt proud and honoured to be surrounded by so many supporters who contributed so much to her campaign.
‘‘I feel so proud to have so many representatives from my community here with me in Canberra today,” Ms McGowan said.
‘‘We couldn’t have achieved what we did without the immense support from people all across Indi. We had door knockers, badge makers, banner makers, community organisers and a myriad of other volunteers who played a part.
‘‘Today is about Indi and being our best selves for the rest of Australia to see.’’
Ms McGowan’s supporters travelled by bus from Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga and beyond, to Canberra to celebrate her debut speech at Parliament House.
A sea of orange flooded the grounds as the buses pulled up.
In the independent’s address she said ‘‘not all is well’’ in Indi, stating below-average education statistics, socioeconomic disadvantage and an ongoing trend of young people leaving the region for work and study.
‘‘Other critical issues are infrastructure, access to transport, reliable telephone and internet coverage, jobs, education and health, ’’ Ms McGowan said.
A call for action last year from young people spurred on Ms McGowan and a team of backers.
‘‘They wanted a representative in parliament who would serve their electorate first, rather than a political party, and they wanted their vote to count — not to be taken for granted in a safe seat.’’
The Liberals for Indi office will be based in Wangaratta, which they say will ensure residents have a link back into government and that their concerns are being heard.
State director Damien Mantach said north-east Victoria was a crucial region for the Liberal Party.
‘‘It is appropriate for us to have an office in Indi so that members of the community can connect with us locally,’’ Mr Mantach said.
‘‘The general public will be able to access information about Abbott Government policies, contribute ideas and link up across the electorate.
‘‘Indi is very important to the Liberal Party. We have longstanding connections to this region and an ongoing commitment to supporting the north-east at both federal and state levels.’’
Local woman Karen Rourke has been appointed as field officer to engage with the community and branches on behalf of the Liberal Party.
The Liberals for Indi have started moving into their new base at 71B Ovens St, Wangaratta, and the office will officially open early next year.
Budding Kyabram actor Taylor Smith Morvell is one of 20 Victorian students chosen to perform his Year 12 theatre studies monologue in Melbourne next week.
The Yarrawonga and District Cemetery Trust has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Department of Health to undertake development work at the Yarrawonga cemetery.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
A man has been taken to Echuca hospital after being trapped for several minutes in his vehicle.
Steve Glassborow has returned for a twentieth year, bringing a range of his bronze sculptures.
Tongala family hopes for transplant call for six-year-old.
Family of former Seymour man killed in a road crash in Los Angeles before Christmas set up a Melbourne University scholarship in his honour.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Leitchville-Gunbower at home was too strong for Heathcote’s senior footballers in their first Good Friday clash.
Huge crowds turned out for Cobram Barooga's River Beaches Festival, which featured a special splash for 2000 rubber ducks.
South West Arts ArtOut will be held again in 2015 after last weekend's inaugural success.
Murray Goulburn has lifted its milk prices to about $6.66 kg milk solids.
Benalla's Kevin Harper will be honoured in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow for his service during the Korean War.
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