Like much of rural Victoria, East Gippsland has again missed out in this year’s State Budget with country areas outside major provincial centres seemingly not on Labor’s map.
The situation is this Budget clearly points out country people are being taxed more and receiving little.
In short, the budget contained:
• $32 million slashed out of the Agriculture budget.
• No money for new police stations – in particular Orbost, which is in need of upgrade.
• No new capital investments for our country hospitals.
• No cost of living relief for families to combat burgeoning power prices and in fact nine new taxes that will impact country people, including a hike to the Fire Services Levy, increased stamp duty on cars and changes that will increase land tax.
• No Country Roads and Bridges Program, which still hasn’t been restored even as our roads crumble into disrepair.
• No funds to finish the Bairnsdale Secondary College with that community again having been ignored. Spending on schools across rural and regional Victoria has been slashed by $87 million.
In fact, on the back of the only announcement of any relevance, that being reference to the Avon River Bridge at Stratford being built totally with Federal money and no state contribution, many of the roads funding programs come with an asterisk footnote that they are also dependent on Federal funding.
There are many programs where the announcement has been made by the state, but they are sending the bill straight to the Federal Government.
I look forward to working with my Federal colleague, Darren Chester, over the coming weeks to progress the replacement of the Avon River Rail Bridge at Stratford.
Caption: Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, peruses the 2017/18 State Budget which he says taxes country people more while delivering little to rural areas.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017