small business Agriculture Community facilities | June 11, 2019

Labor has no plan for Regional Victoria - Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Victoria’s strong population growth is a great opportunity for Regional Victoria – if only we had a State Government that has a plan and vision to grow all of our state, not just Melbourne.

The May State Budget showed again that Daniel Andrews’ Labor Government lacks both.

The Regional Growth Fund, which delivered a $1 billion boost to country communities and encouraged businesses – and jobs – to relocate out of Melbourne has been axed.

There was also a $130 million cut to Regional Development Victoria’s funding, $220 million cut from country roads and nearly $50 million ripped from Victoria’s agriculture budget.

Locally there is no funding to return passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton; no funding for the desperately needed completion of the Warracknabeal Education Precinct; a broken $8.4 million funding promise for Hamilton’s Baimbridge College; and no funding to complete Stage 2 of the Hamilton CFA-EMV Airbase which plays a critical role in responding to emergency fire events in south-west Victoria.

The Regional Development Minister told State Parliament she was “very proud” of Labor’s State Budget, despite all these regional cuts and the Melbourne-centric focus.

Regional Victoria needs less Ministerial spin and more dollars invested into the infrastructure and services important to regional communities – like roads, rail, hospitals and schools.

After yet another disappointing State Budget from the Andrews Labor Government, it is a relief to know that at least we do have a re-elected Liberal Nationals Federal Government that cares about regional people and has an exciting plan for investing and growing all of Regional Victoria.

Emma Kealy

Member for Lowan

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