Community facilities Grants and awards | May 03, 2019

Western Victorian communities missing out under Daniel Andrews

A new VAGO report has confirmed that communities in Western Victoria received a bigger slice of funds under the Liberal Nationals and are missing out under Labor.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Outcomes of Investing in Regional Victoria report is a scathing assessment of the Andrews Government’s failure to properly administer the Regional Growth Fund.

The VAGO report found Labor failed to address problems, including slow application lead times, inaccurate data and not adequately accounting for administration costs.

The Liberal Nationals Government introduced the Regional Growth Fund in 2011. The fund was set up as an eight-year program that would invest $1 billion to deliver better infrastructure, facilities and services; strengthen economies and communities outside of Melbourne; create jobs and improve career opportunities for regional Victorians; and support local project development and planning.

The program continued after the election of the Andrews Labor Government, rebadged as the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. Funding for the dedicated $1 billion program is set to expire on 30 June 2019.

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the VAGO report showed The Nationals in government delivered for Lowan communities, with $36.6 million invested through the Fund in the area under the Liberal Nationals compared to $13.3 million under Labor.

"Daniel Andrews isn’t willing to make the same strong investment in the future of our communities, instead we've had to drag him kicking and screaming for every cent under this city-centric Labor Government. It shouldn’t be this hard," Ms Kealy said.

“Without this $1 billion grants program businesses would not have expanded, jobs would not have been created, and community infrastructure would not exist.

“It is critical that further funds are allocated in the upcoming State Budget.”

The report also confirms what has long been suspected – the Andrews Government failed to properly cost its own election commitments before the 2014 State Election, meaning funds fell $226 million short.

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