Regional Victoria 2020-21 State Budget

Big spend, but not much for us

27 November 2020

The Andrews Government has released the biggest spending budget Victoria has ever seen with the least transparency and detail ever seen.

Member for Euroa and The Nationals’ deputy leader Steph Ryan said the Andrews Government was drip feeding funding to our area despite tripling state debt and spending a staggering $50 billion.

“The Andrews Labor Government has sunk the state into an eyewatering level of debt to deliver this budget,” Ms Ryan said.

“Despite handing down the biggest borrowing budget in Victoria’s history, Labor still won’t fund projects which are vital to our region.

“The Nationals committed $162 million to build the Kilmore bypass at the last election, yet this budget has delivered a paltry $12 million to build a new roundabout as a first step in the long overdue project for which the Kilmore community has been desperately calling.”

Ms Ryan said Labor’s decision to ignore the dire need to rebuild the Benalla police station – the worst in the state – was disappointing, while CFA brigades in need of new stations, including Strathbogie, Moorilim and Heathcote had also been overlooked.

“This was also Labor’s chance to come good on the funding needed to complete the rebuild of both Seymour College and Benalla College – projects which The Nationals committed to completing at the last two elections.”

Ms Ryan said the budget provided only small wins for local community action groups.

“The Nagambie community has put so much effort into lobbying for a permanent ambulance service and they deserve all the credit for that service being made permanent.

“The establishment of a Benalla campus of the Wangaratta and District Specialist School will be a great benefit to children and families in Benalla, and I look forward to seeing more detail including timelines for other projects funded in our area, such as the Benalla Art Gallery and Euroa Community Cinema.

“In light of the $50 billion Labor is spending, our communities and businesses deserved more than the drip of funding we received.”

In a brazen lack of transparency more reminiscent of Donald Trump’s USA than Victoria, Labor has also hidden major cost overruns on projects, including regional rail upgrades, by simply refusing to publish the State Capital Program, a key budget paper.                         

“Every Victorian should be concerned by the fact Labor is covering up waste and cost blowouts at a time when they are spending almost $50 billion,” Ms Ryan said.

“Whether it is refusing to answer journalists’ questions, rejecting any responsibility for the decisions which led to Victoria’s second wave, limiting sittings of Parliament or covering up huge cost overruns in the state budget, Labor MPs have well and truly shown they have become so arrogant that they do not believe they need to be accountable to the people they serve.”


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