Looking for Budget silver lining as interest bill hits $10 million per day
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Looking for Budget silver lining as interest bill hits $10 million per day

The upcoming State Budget is tipped to be a difficult one as Victoria forges headlong into financial disaster, with the Andrews Government’s own forecast projecting a state debt of $165.4 billion by 2026.
Our current debt is higher than the debt of New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania combined. All of those states went through Covid, so that does not account for the excuse we are given.
We are currently paying $10 million per day in interest (yes that is right, just read that again) and by 2026/27 our annual interest repayments will be around $8 billion.
To add to this, we have many projects that were promised in the lead up to last year’s election being cancelled less than six months later, including the rail link to the airport and fast rail to Geelong as cost over runs on metropolitan projects hits the $30 billion mark.
How anyone can say the Andrew’s Labor Government is doing even a half reasonable fiscal job is beyond me.
The trouble is we seem to have a younger inner-city generation that does not care about debt and is driven by a “what’s in it for me” mentality and that is how they vote.
By 2025/26, just two years away, the debt will equate to $24,000 for every single Victorian – and yes it has to be repaid – by us.
Having hit you with the harsh realities of our economic situation, the Budget will still present some opportunities.
Within it we will have funds allocated for health and emergency services infrastructure and service provision.
At the top of the list locally is the $230 million we need for a new Bairnsdale Hospital, and health should be at the top of the list in this Budget.
A close second should be country roads and, after years of having funding cut for road maintenance, it needs a significant boost.
Our roads are the worst they have ever been and they were bad before the wet years we have had, so that is no excuse.
Regardless, they need fixing and funding reductions to road maintenance will only ever end one way – which is what we are seeing.
Mental health services need additional investment, and from the emergency services portfolio, we desperately need new police stations in Orbost and Maffra, and fire stations in Lakes Entrance and Metung.
Labor also needs to deliver the $800,000 it promised for the new Lakes Entrance indoor sports stadium to commence.
Daniel Andrews has already announced there will be a 10% cut to the public service – this cannot come from our communities.
In the lead up to the election the public service grew by 17% and now he is saying it will be cut by 10%.
This must come from his spin doctoring bureaucracy in Melbourne that was employed pre-election, not the front-line staff who are part of our communities and who we rely on in our local offices of Parks, DEECA, and Housing etc.
I am pleased we are having what has already been announced as a tight Budget as you cannot continue to spend like a drunken sailor, but I would also expect that within the departmental budgets, we get some of the above important projects our community deserves, and that all our local staff levels are maintained or boosted.

Pictured: Tim Bull with volunteers from the Metung Fire Brigade on the new fire station location on the corner of Metung Road and Hardys Lane.

Monday, 8 May 2023