The State Budget confirms the Andrews Labor Government has no plan and no money for communities in Gippsland East.
That’s the view of Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull who is disappointed that this budget has no new infrastructure funding announcements for Maffra, Stratford, Heyfield, Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Omeo or Orbost. In fact there is nothing new of any significance for the region, which is replicated across most of rural Victoria in a budget that contains many tax increases to pay for metro projects.
“The biggest kick in the guts is the complete axing of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which was set up by The Nationals in 2011,” he said.
“Even one of the very few pre-election commitments we received from Labor, when they matched our commitment to the Omeo Mountain Bike Park – does not rate a mention, posing serious questions about the announcement, which I will pursue in the coming weeks to ensure it is not forgotten.
“There are a lot of country members disappointed in the Parliament today, but we will continue to fight for our fair share.
“It is disheartening for students and teachers that the second stage of the Bairnsdale Secondary College redevelopment has been omitted again and that the Bairnsdale CFA station relocation hasn’t been funded either. It would have been good to get just some of these projects supported,” said Mr Bull.
“There’s nothing for additional drought relief and there are devastating cuts to the Regional Development Output budget of 21%, cuts to Parks Victoria budget (4%), cuts to the Veterans’ budget (26%), cuts to the Agriculture budget (4%) and cuts to the Tourism and Major Events budget (19%).
“Local Government has also copped a significant 23.8% cut at a time when ratepayers are suffering from cost of living pressures and drought affected farmers are facing ruin. This budget should have done the reverse, increased funding to Local Government so that drought affected farmers could have been be provided with some degree of drought relief.
“To quantify the cutting of the Regional Growth Fund, here is a list of just some of the $30million in projects it funded in our Liberal Nationals time in government:
$346,000 for the upgrade of Visitor Information Centres in East Gippsland
$950,000 for the Bairnsdale All Abilities playground
$300,000 for the $775,000 Paynesville Town Centre improvements project
$500,000 for the $3.7 million Bairnsdale Library Precinct project
$500,000 for the $1.2 million Bairnsdale CBD improvement project
$500,000 for the $886,000 Lakes Entrance on-water refuelling project at Bullock Island
$300,000 for the $500,000 Patterson Park Metung project
$100,000 for the Orbost Sensory Gardens path development and revitalisation plan
$300,000 for the $750,000 Paynesville Esplanade enhancement project
$150,000 for the $3.78 million One Harvest Beetroot project
$150,000 for the $380,000 Maffra farmhouse cheese expansion project; and
$200,000 for the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail project (Glengarry to Cowwarr section).
“It is now gone thanks to Daniel Andrews and this Budget again confirms he has no love, no plan and no money for regional Victoria at all and he has still to this day not visited any of our major towns in East Gippsland in five years,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, says that the State budget contains nothing to support local needs and aspirations.