Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Labor Government have thumbed their nose at Narracan residents in the final State Budget which was handed down today before this year’s Victorian Election in November.
Speaking today, Mr Blackwood said the decision by Daniel Andrews to fund not one cent towards a new West Gippsland Hospital would be condemned by local residents, community groups and stakeholders.
‘1,265 days ago today Daniel Andrews announced his grand plan to undertake a services review into the West Gippsland Hospital,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Daniel Andrews’ failure to not only release the findings of the services plan, but to also not detail his support for a new West Gippsland Hospital is simply astounding,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘More than 10,000 locals signed a petition calling on Daniel Andrews to fund a new hospital and they will now truly be left wondering where is the funding for West Gippsland Hospital?
‘This decision today means one of two things; either Daniel Andrews believes this is a political football best held until a Labor Candidate is announced for the seat of Narracan, or that our hospital is not deserving of true long term investment to meet demands for better access to health services locally.
‘Treasurer Tim Pallas should also hang his head in shame. Today he had the audacity to state; “We don’t shut hospitals. We build them.”
‘The Treasurer should come out today to my electorate and state to the local community why the West Gippsland Hospital has been deliberately excluded from this Budget.
Public transport and road funding in today’s budget also missed the mark for Gippsland residents who have seemingly been left off the ledger when it comes to major rail investment and road upgrades.
‘There is still no plan to reduce congestion on the Pakenham rail corridor for Gippsland V/Line services who will continue to be stuck behind Metro rail services.
‘Federal funding delivered key projects for rail duplication in the Gippsland region but that will not address the greatest delay for our V/Line service which occurs in the Metro rail corridor between Pakenham and the CBD.
‘SkyRail will not improve frequency and punctuality issues for the Gippsland Line and Daniel Andrews has not shown a clear plan to fix the issue.
‘Gippsland rail commuters will rightly feel forgotten by the Andrews Labor Government today.
‘Regional road funding has received the bare minimum investment with Daniel Andrews only restoring $100 million per year of the former Coalition Governments Country Roads and Bridges Fund which was previously delivering $160 million per year to assist with local road projects.
Local schools have also been left wanting, with no new announcements for upgrades or investment in early, primary or secondary infrastructure projects for schools across Narracan.
‘Neerim District Secondary College and Moe Albert Street Primary are just two of our local schools seeking funding from the Andrews Government and the failure today to deliver even one significant announcement for schools in Narracan is absolutely disgraceful.
Mr Blackwood said the 2018/19 State Budget handed down today demonstrated again that Daniel Andrews had no vision for Regional Victoria and that it was instead focused on saving the seats he needed to hold Government in November with the help of the Victorian Greens.
‘Regional Victoria is the forgotten part of this State under Daniel Andrews who is more focused on metropolitan seats and what he sees as vital Green preferences in the lead up to the 2018 State Election.
‘Today’s State Budget handed down by Daniel Andrews is the final time he will wrong Regional Victorians.
‘Under Daniel Andrews, Victoria may need to change its slogan to “The Unaffordable State” with household electricity prices skyrocketing, road tolls up, public transport fares up, housing costs and taxes up.
‘This was an opportunity to begin to put downward pressure on cost of living for Victorians and Daniel Andrews has failed to do so.
‘A Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government will restore our regions and deliver the funding they deserve.
‘‘A Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government will fund and commence the build of a new West Gippsland Hospital.
‘‘A Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government will restore regional road funding and infrastructure investment including new regional rail rolling stock that will benefit the Gippsland line directly.
‘We will support our regional communities, not just metropolitan Melbourne like Daniel Andrews and Victorian Labor have done for four long years’, said Mr Blackwood.