Labor budget a harbinger of things to come
Country Victoria has good reason to be concerned about the next four years under a Labor Government, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien.
Mr O’Brien said the last two weeks of budget hearings in the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, of which he is a member, have highlighted some serious deficiencies in the approach of the government.
“For regional Victoria there is little to like from what we learned at PAEC these last two weeks. Country hospitals will get just 1.7 per cent of capital spending and that goes to just one project, in Ballarat.
“On total infrastructure spending, country Victoria is getting just 2.9 per cent of the pie. That led to Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan desperately claiming the benefits for country people of the Melbourne Metro rail project.
“Of most concern to my electorate of Gippsland South is the broken promises on road funding. Labor's been promising for two years to allocate $1 billion over eight years to country roads yet can't say where this is in the budget - because it's not there. It has in fact cut roads maintenance by 10 per cent and axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program.”
Mr O’Brien said the hearings also revealed the charade behind Labor’s campaign on funding for the vocational education and training sector.
“After several years falsely decrying Coalition "cuts" to TAFE, Labor has budgeted to spend exactly the same - $1.2 billion per annum - on training subsidies and is not planning to train a single extra student. The Minister made this clear in his evidence, highlighting that Labor has simply been running a scare campaign.
“So many decisions, big and small, have been sent off to reviews and many commitments - like roads and level crossing removals - are unfunded in the out years, meaning to pay for them we're either heading for big cuts in future or deficits. Based on form, that can't be good for the country.”
Mr O’Brien said he would continue to fight for a better deal for Gippsland South and hold Labor accountable for its lack of attention to Gippsland and country Victoria in general.