A big chunk of the money promised to country Victoria from the Port of Melbourne lease proceeds has not been delivered by Daniel Andrews.
While East Gippsland’s road and rail infrastructure is crying out for renewal, the promised funds have been spent elsewhere.
Nationals member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said, “In 2016 Daniel Andrews promised to invest 10 per cent of the $ 9.7 billion proceeds from the Port of Melbourne lease deal in new transport infrastructure projects in regional Victoria.
However, under questioning in a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing this week, Department of Treasury and Finance Secretary, David Martine, admitted the last budget acquittal for the Port of Melbourne lease proceeds was wrong.
“He revealed that a total of $288 million of the lease proceeds have instead been used on “periodic maintenance” of existing regional rail – not new projects as promised – while a further $435 million has been spent elsewhere because the Federal Liberal Nationals Government stepped in to deliver this amount for regional rail in Victoria instead.
“These funds were not ever intended to be used for maintenance and to replace that budget, it was for new projects. That is what was promised and that is what should be delivered.
“There are a lot of projects that the Andrews government could have completed or at least had underway with this money,” said Mr Bull.
“The Wellington and East Gippsland Shire Councils both have priorities for roads and bridges and V/Line has the same for its rail assets and rolling stock.
“It’s a shame that good projects have been left sitting on the drawing boards while all of country Victoria has to battle on with substandard infrastructure and the Premier focuses only on Melbourne.
“The Premier needs to immediately return the $723 million to the country transport projects, to get cracking on consulting with the community about its priorities and start getting things done for not only East Gippsland, but all of country Victoria,” said Mr Bull.
Friday, February 16, 2018