The Victorian Labor Government’s Budget has again missed the mark in Narracan for a second consecutive year under Daniel Andrews.
Four local schools will see upgrades after being forgotten by the Labor Government in the 2015-16 State Budget however many of the upgrades won’t be seen until 2018-19 and funds allocated fall well short of the $15m promised by the Coalition in 2014.
- Warragul Regional College – $5.8 million (est. completion q3 2018-19)
- Drouin Secondary College – $4.5 million (est. completion q3 2018-19); and,
- Baringa Special School Moe – $3 million (est. completion q2 2017-18).
Ellinbank Primary School will also receive a share of the School Pride and Sport Fund.
‘Today’s announcement of funding for local schools is just reward for those school communities who were forgotten by Labor in last years State Budget.
‘It is disappointing that a number of key education projects across the Narracan electorate have again missed out today including Moe Albert Street Primary who are in desperate need of building upgrades and security fencing, the final stage of the Trafalgar High School redevelopment and Neerim District Secondary College.
Commuters will see no immediate improvement to V/Line services as funding announced for the Gippsland line has a distinct lack of detail and falls well short of the $102 million promised by the Coalition in 2014 for the Gippsland line.
Key transport projects lacking detail include;
- $9 million for station upgrades along the Gippsland rail corridor with no specific stations announced;
- $131 million for increased off peak services across the state with no specific details about how Gippsland commuters can expect to benefit; and,
- $2.6 million for a business case that will look at track duplication at Bunyip River and between Moe & Traralgon with no further detail.
No funding was allocated for a Drouin town bus service which is desperately needed.
‘Many of the projects announced today lack the necessary level of detail which could give local commuters some degree of comfort.
‘It is unacceptable for Labor to announce investment at Gippsland stations and not list which stations will receive upgrades.
‘Already we have seen the controversial SkyRail project announced without additional line capacity and the lack of further investment for a third or fourth dedicated line in today’s budget for Gippsland rail services will come as a major blow to commuters.
‘Commuters already suffered through months of pain following the V/Line wheel and level crossing debacle and todays lack of investment in regional transport rail projects shows this governments contempt for regional commuters.
‘Drouin remains the largest regional town in Victoria without a dedicated bus service and the failure to include funding for it in this state budget will mean families living in the area will still have find alternative modes of transport.
$1 million was also announced for the West Gippsland Healthcare Group with very limited detail.
‘An announcement of $1 million has been made for the West Gippsland Healthcare Group however there is no detail as to what the funding would actually be used for, It is simply listed as “planning for redevelopment”.
‘Concern has been raised that the Andrews Labor Government is attempting to use its promised Service Plan of the West Gippsland Healthcare Group to reduce the services offered locally and today’s announcement does nothing to alleviate that concern. The Hospital desperately needs a third operating theatre and further expansion of the Emergency Department.
‘The Minister needs to release the Services Plan and commit to funding the Business Case for the development of the hospital on the greenfield site at Lardners Track.
Mr Blackwood said that while there were some positives in the State Budget for Narracan, they were few and far between and did not go far enough to address the shortfall in services in this fast growing region.
‘There are no announcements of funding for local road projects, expansion of Kindergarten facilities or a new Ambulance station for Drouin and only Moe and Warragul police stations will receive refurbishments.
‘The Andrew’s Labor Government need to recognise the enormous growth pressure that West Gippsland is currently facing and invest in infrastructure for health, education and transport instead of putting Gippsland second to Metro Melbourne,’ Mr Blackwood said.