Nationals Gippsland East MP, said there was little in Tuesday’s Budget for East Gippsland with big spends outlined for metropolitan based projects.
“Following the year we have had with fires and then Coronavirus on the back of three years of drought, I thought we were due to have some important infrastructure projects knocked off the list and I expect that is what East Gippslanders anticipated,” he said.
“Nothing would have made me happier than be able to report we have a number of key projects funded, but at first glance it appears they have not been.
“Completion of the Bairnsdale Secondary College, new fire stations at Lakes Entrance and Metung, a new police station at Orbost and the Maffra Hospital upgrade were all key projects and while I understand we were never going to get them all, it would have been good to get some.
“The other element I find a little frustrating is that over the past 12 months we have had East Gippsland businesses screaming for more support to get through this tough period, but they were told it was not there. Now, just months later we see a massive city spend, while many of those country businesses are gone.”
Mr Bull said the college did receive $7.23 million, but in excess of $15m was required to finish the school and get all the students out of the old Wallace Street campus and all on to one site - this money will not achieve that.
“Over the upcoming holiday period there will be several portable classrooms arriving and I assume this is part of the funding announced, but why would you spend money on portables when the new school can be finished.
“The Liberal Nationals committed to stage one in 2010 and built it when in government, then also committed to stage two in 2014 and 2018, which would finish the school.
“Strangely, Labor committed to stage one in 2010 also, but for the past decade has refused to commit to finishing the school.
“I just hope this money for portable classrooms and some other works that have been funded is not an indication we have to wait longer to have all the students together in a modern facility on one site.
“It is far from ideal and just this week on Monday they were drenched walking to classes between the two sites.”
Mr Bull said he hoped some of the above-mentioned projects were hidden away in the budget papers, but the fact they were not specifically mentioned gave him little hope.
“There is a lot being spent in Melbourne and after all we have been through, it reckon it was out turn,” he said.
“At a time when our local economies are recovering from bushfires and coronavirus shutdowns, Labor’s budget has run up the white flag on jobs.
“Victoria’s unemployment will remain higher than the national average for each of the next four years but despite the big taxing, big borrowing budget, the jobs crisis is set to continue.”
Tuesday, November 24, 2020