small business | May 21, 2020

Nationals release COVID-19 recovery plan

The Victorian Nationals are calling for a one-off increase to lift energy concessions to $1000 next year.

The proposal comes as part of a wider plan released last week to help secure Victorians’ personal finances, rebuild local economies, build better communities and keep families safe in the wake of coronavirus.

“We have outlined a detailed 12-month plan ‘Get Victoria Back to Work and Back in Business’ with bold ideas to help Victoria recover from the brutal economic damage caused by coronavirus,” The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said.

“We have flattened the curve, but we have also flattened the economy. More than 127,000 Victorians lost their jobs in the last month alone, and this doesn’t include those who are on JobKeeper payments.

“Lifting energy concessions to $1000 a year is a way the Victorian Government can provide immediate assistance to people who are struggling to pay their power bills.

“Tens of thousands of families have had their pay packets slashed while the cost of gas and electricity continues to rise.”

The Nationals’ COVID-19 response plan also calls on the Andrews Government to fast-track spending on local infrastructure by immediately funding ready-to-go projects like a new grandstand for Nhill’s Davis Park, redevelopment of the Willaura Hospital and linking the Grampians Peaks Trail to the communities of Dunkeld, Wartook, Halls Gap and Pomonal.

“We are calling on the government to kickstart an economic recovery by prioritising the construction of local projects across regional Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.

“Completing these projects would see many local jobs created during the construction phase, delivering an important economic boost to our regional economy.

“I fear that if the Andrews Government does not prioritise these projects when it has just borrowed an eyewatering $24.5 billion to respond to COVID-19, they will never be on the table for Labor.”

The Nationals’ 12-month recovery plan also calls on the government to immediately reinstate the

$160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program, which helped upgrade council-owned roads.

“These are sensible and constructive ideas that we are putting forward,” Ms Kealy said.

“I want to make sure our region gets a fair share of the huge amount of money the Andrews Labor Government has borrowed. It is going to take generations to repay this debt and we need to make sure it is invested in projects that help local people get back to work and back in business.”

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