Health Roads | April 29, 2022

Budget must deliver for regional communities

Increased spending for health, roads, housing and community infrastructure in regional Victoria must form part of Tuesday’s State Budget to ensure Lowan communities get their fair share.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said regional Victoria made up 25 per cent of Victoria’s population, and it was time for the Andrews Labor Government to ensure this was reflected in its budget spend.

“All we ever ask for is our fair share, and it’s imperative that Labor listens to what regional Victorians need and delivers the funding required to ensure our local communities can continue to prosper and grow,” she said.

“The state of our road network is the most common issue people speak to me about, but without a substantial boost to funding for road maintenance, our community will continue to be plagued by crumbling road shoulders, yawning potholes and dangerous roads.

“Victoria’s Auditor-General has warned about the hazardous and declining condition of Victoria’s roads, but instead we’ve seen the Andrews Government cut the state’s road maintenance budget by $191 million last year.

“It’s about time the government stopped the band-aid fixes and delivered the roads investment we need and deserve.”

Ms Kealy is also calling for significant investment in health, including mental health.

“We are seeing too many service reductions in healthcare across our state, and diminishing accessibility to services. At a time when so many people are struggling to recover and rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic, there has never been a more crucial time to ensure our health services have the resources and investment they need to care for our communities,” she said.

“A mental health hub for the region and funding for crucial upgrades at Hamilton Base Hospital and Wimmera Base Hospital are among the things our region needs to see funded in the budget.

“We also need sufficient funding to address the housing shortage facing our region, and investment in childcare infrastructure to ensure families wanting and needing to return to the workforce are able to do so.

“The Dunmunkle childcare project has already received local and federal government backing, and I urge the state government to commit its share to see this critical project become a reality.

“The government must also commit funding for important community projects such as upgrades to Horsham’s Christian Emergency Food Centre, redevelopments at Horsham City Oval and Nhill’s Davis Park, and the completion of the Natimuk Lake weir, which has been sitting unfinished for years.

“Proper investment that delivers a fair share to regional communities like ours will ensure all of Victoria thrives.”

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