The 2015-16 State Budget falls well short for Narracan and has failed to deliver the investment needed to drive the region forward with cuts in many key areas Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has said today.
Investment in regional Victoria has been slashed and the announcements that have been made by Labor do very little for the Narracan electorate.
‘The 2015-16 State Budget has let Victoria and Narracan down with sweeping cuts throughout,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘The cuts the Government have undertaken will hit every area of our economy and community stifling growth, innovation, business, road infrastructure and support for Agriculture.
Key cuts to spending include;
- Access, Industry Development and Innovation, down $3.3 million;
- Industry and Enterprise Innovation, down $9.2 million;
- Major Projects, down $108.8 million;
- Regional Development, down $40.4 million;
- Tourism, Major Events and International Education, down $144.8 million;
- Trade, down $20.9 million;
- Agriculture, down $34.1 million;
- Integrated Transport, down $1.2 million; and
- Road Asset Management, down $84.3 million.
Mr Blackwood welcomed the announcement of three new maternity beds at the West Gippsland Hospital but was bitterly disappointed that it fell well short of the Coalitions 2014 Election commitment.
‘In Government the Victorian Coalition committed $2.5 million that would have seen improved obstetric and maternity services at West Gippsland Hospital,’ said Mr Blackwood.
Mr Blackwood said it was a disgrace that the Andrews Government had broken their election pledge to fund a health services plan for the West Gippsland Hospital.
‘During the 2014 election Labor promised to develop a health services plan that would determine the future needs of the hospital and that commitment has not been honoured in this budget with no funds allocated,’ Mr Blackwood said.
Mr Blackwood also highlighted missed opportunities for investment in education infrastructure which had been committed to by the former Coalition Government.
‘The Victorian Coalition announced a strong plan for investment in our regions education sector including major upgrades to Warragul Regional College, Neerim District Secondary College, Trafalgar Secondary College and Moe Albert Street Primary,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Today no commitment for additional funding to these schools has been announced and they have been left to fend for themselves by the Andrews Government.
Transport infrastructure has also been forgotten for Narracan, with no funding for the duplication of the line between Bunyip and Longwarry and a reduction in road funding.
‘$178.1 million was promised by the Coalition in 2014 for major improvements to infrastructure and services on the Gippsland line.
‘This critical project has been ignored and will mean additional service frequency purported by the Andrews Government on the line cannot be achieved due to the bottleneck which will remain.
‘While 21 new carriages have specifically been earmarked for Geelong, there is no commitment for rolling stock to support the Gippsland region.
‘The Coalition delivered major funding in Government to provide new rolling stock which now looks set to support other centres and not the Gippsland corridor.
‘Road maintenance funding has also been cut and when coupled with the loss of the hugely popular $160m Country Roads and Bridges program it means that regional Victorian’s are copping a massive hit from the city centric Andrew’s Government.
Mr Blackwood said the 2015-16 Victorian State Budget would reaffirm with the Narracan electorate that Labor’s concern for Country Victoria is just another Labor lie.
‘Even the Andrews Governments own press release about what it is doing for Gippsland fails to mention any support for the Narracan electorate which again appears to have been largely forgotten.
‘Today the Andrews Labor Government has delivered a State Budget that is all about politics and not people. Victorians and Gippslanders will already be asking “where has the money gone”,’ Mr Blackwood said.