Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today welcomed multi-million dollar investments to build a better East Gippsland in the Victorian Coalition Government's 2014-2015 State Budget.
Mr Bull said today's Budget delivered improved infrastructure and services for families and businesses throughout East Gippsland.
“On the back of last week’s terrific announcement that a site has been purchased and $4.1m announced for the Sale Specialist School that will service communities in my electorate like Maffra, Heyfield and Stratford, there is additional good news.
“We have $5.5m for an overall $11m upgrade to the Princes Highway, including three overtaking lanes between Orbost and Nowa Nowa. Federal funds were earmarked last year and I am delighted the State has confirmed its contribution.
“There is also $3.38 million for works further east including a major upgrade to the well used rest area at Murrungowar, east of Orbost.
“From a wider Gippsland perspective we have $73m upgrade to our region’s major hospital (Latrobe), which services many East Gippslanders and an upgrade to the eastern metro rail corridor that will provide a far more reliable journey for Gippsland V/Line passengers.
Mr Bull said there were a number of other state-wide announcements that would be beneficial to East Gippslanders, including: • Additional health funding of $1.4b over the next four years, including a $190m to boost elective surgery, • An increase to the CFA Budget to $457m and additional funding for 78 new vehicles, • $130m boost for road maintenance in the state, taking the total to over half a billion dollars, • An additional $204m for disability support, • $198m to better support vulnerable children and families with specific funds to better protect women and children at risk of family violence, • A boost to the education budget of $1.6b over five years, including an additional $305m to support students with disability, • A record Victoria Police budget of $2.43b, including $13.5m for the roll out of tasers to all 24hr police stations, including Bairnsdale, • A further $12m to improve boating infrastructure, including a boost of $3m to the Boating Safety and Facilities Program, • $14m for regional tourism marketing, • $35m to boost agricultural exports, assisting our rural sector, • A reduction in payroll tax for 39,000 businesses, saving around a quarter of a billion dollars over four years. • An increase in stamp duty concessions for first home buyers from 40% to 50%.
Mr Bull said other major features of the budget were a commitment to build the western section of the East-West Link that will assist Gippsland freight related businesses and travellers - and the commitment to build the Melbourne Rail Link that includes a rail service from the city to the airport.
“With a forecast surplus, this is a Budget all Victorians can welcome,” he said.