Sport and Recreation Community facilities | June 27, 2019

Labor leaves rural councils high and dry

The Premier for Melbourne’s Minister for Fishing and Boating is again dishing out unfair treatment to rural Victorians – agreeing to fund metropolitan council boat ramps and adjacent car park maintenance but refusing to commit to doing the same for country councils.

In the recent Public Accounts and Estimates (PAEC) hearing, Jaala Pulford stated the Government would subsidise launching and car parking fees charged by metropolitan councils.

But the Minister has confirmed rural and regional councils that choose not to charge fees, instead absorbing the cost of maintenance into general revenue, will be excluded.

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the Andrews Government would go to any lengths to treat country Victorians as second-class citizens.

“Recreational fishing and boating is a favourite pastime of many people in our community and brings in visitors to events and competitions who stay and spend locally,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Minister was asked repeatedly at PAEC whether the government would fund the maintenance costs for all councils, but would only say it would be “part of a future review”.

“City-centric Labor is happy to guarantee it will invest in Melbourne, only to hand our rural communities scraps off the table and a refusal to promise support.”

Metropolitan councils like Frankston, which has two boat ramps and charges fees to cover maintenance will now be fully subsidised by the Labor Government while rural councils, many who have numerous boat ramps and car parks to maintain, will be subject to a review.

“The city-centric Andrews Government is excluding regional and rural councils because they choose to bear the cost of maintaining their boating facilities for the benefit of Victoria’s fishing and boating community,” Ms Kealy said.

“If the Andrews Labor Government is subsidising city councils’ boat ramps and car parks it should offer the same assistance to rural and regional councils – which often have many more facilities and greater costs.”

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