The Liberal-National Coalition has failed to outline how they will ensure regional Victoria continues to grow and prosper into the future, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Jacinta Allan said today.
“Regional Victoria has dropped off the map in the first Liberal-National Government Budget. Their Budget has delivered nothing but disappointment to regional Victorians,” she said.
“Mr Baillieu has broken promises and failed to outline how he will create jobs and boost economic growth by investing in the new infrastructure regional Victoria needs.
“This just reinforces the fact that Mr Baillieu does not understand what families need.
“Job creation and economic growth in regional Victoria does not happen by accident. It requires good planning from governments but unfortunately Mr Baillieu has not delivered.
“In the past 11 years, Labor rebuilt our regions by investing in key infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, road and rail. During this time 120,000 new jobs were created and people were flocking to our regions in droves.
“Unfortunately Mr Baillieu’s lack of a plan will lead to less jobs, a cut to investment in infrastructure and less growth in regional Victoria.
“They have scrapped the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund dedicated to building infrastructure across the regions, and this Budget shows they have failed to replace it.
Ms Allan said the Baillieu Government’s first Budget was an opportunity to explain to regional Victorians how they would invest in hospitals, schools, transport and other important services.
“Regional Victoria is growing and families must have access to the best services such as schools, hospitals, and transport close to home,” she said.
“This is a Government that ran around country Victoria promising everything to everyone.
“The real test was whether they would deliver but unfortunately Mr Baillieu has used the Budget to break promise after promise.”
The Liberal-National Government has failed to deliver the following election commitments:
- Health: the helipad for Ballarat Hospital, the second hospital in Geelong; upgrades to Kilmore Seymour and Castlemaine hospitals, and the planned introduction of Radiotherapy services in Southwest Coast;
- Education; no upgrades for students in Bairnsdale, Castlemaine, Kooweerup, Mirboo, Romsey, Rosebud and Sebastopol
- Transport: no reference in the Budget to extra V-Locity carriages to support regional train travellers and new bus services; and
- The Budget has also failed to address the introduction of PSOs to 24 hour Emergency Departments, and only four regional areas will see PSOs at all, nine short of the what the Coalition promised.
Mr Baillieu has also broken the following promises by underfunding the following:
- Bendigo Hospital will not receive any funding until 2014, and then only $20.5 million, well short of the additional $102 million that was promised;
- Geelong Hospital Expansion will only receive $8.3 million of the $88 million commitment during the next four years; and
- the program to upgrade regional level crossings by providing a paltry $47.3 million for over 75 crossings.
“Mr Baillieu has chosen not to fund many key election promises because he does not understand what families in regional Victoria need,” Ms Allan said.
“Mr Baillieu inherited a AAA-rated budget, with a strong surplus over each of the next four years and no excuses not to deliver on what he promised.
“Instead, Mr Baillieu has used a litany of excuses about why he hasn’t delivered for regional Victorians and why he has broken promise after promise.
“Almost six months into Government the Liberal-National Coalition is already acting like a city centric government – turning their back once again on rural and regional Victoria.”