Regional Victoria

City-centric Labor to axe Regional Development Fund

25 February 2019

Communities across the Euroa electorate will be dealt a significant blow with the Andrews Labor Government set to axe Victoria’s dedicated Regional Development Fund.

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the program has invested $1 billion over eight years into regional Victorian communities, including in Benalla, Euroa, Seymour, Kilmore and Heathcote. 

“Daniel Andrews must reconsider his plans to axe a successful program that has just delivered a $1 billion boost to our regional communities,” Ms Ryan said.

“The Nationals set up the Regional Growth Fund as a priority program when we were in government and it has been a huge success for supporting local jobs, businesses, councils, community improvements and more.

“The Nationals pledged a fresh $1 billion injection for the program heading into the 2018 state election which Labor failed to commit.

“In Parliament this week, The Nationals questioned the Regional Development Minister Jaclyn Symes about the project’s future with current funding for the program set to expire on June 30 this year.

“Ms Symes had ample opportunity to allay fears but instead she has sent alarm bells ringing across rural and regional communities by failing to commit.”

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said that The Nationals will keep the pressure on the Andrews Government to continue the program.

“It’s not good enough for Labor to pour billions of dollars into Melbourne while ripping valued funding away from regional communities that are working hard to develop and diversify,” Mr Walsh said.

Ms Ryan said that The Nationals will continue to keep pressure on the Andrews Government to continue the program to help continue to drive investment into regional communities and decentralise the state.

“The Premier must change his mind before it’s too late and ensure that we have a dedicated fund for regional development initiatives in the upcoming State Budget,” Ms Ryan said.

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