The Nationals Budget Decentralisation Gippsland South Princes Highway Princes Highway Duplication dupication

Labor delivers regional cuts, more taxes and nothing for Gippsland

The Andrews Labor Government has again failed the people of Gippsland, delivering a Budget today with a massive cut to regional spending and nothing for key projects in Gippsland South.

The Nationals Members for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said Labor’s city-centric focus was worsening, with the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund axed to the detriment of local jobs and the community, and nothing for drought-affected farmers in Gippsland.

He said not only is the Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale not funded, but the project is falsely listed as “completed”[1] – despite two stages remaining.

“I went into today’s Budget with low expectations and they were met,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Daniel Andrews’ latest Budget effort confirms that the State Government has no plan and no money for regional communities.

“Labor’s axing of $1 billion in regional development funds will hurt our communities.  Without this funding, community projects will wither and job-creating developments will stall.  This is no way to help develop our regional areas and decentralise the state.

“Cutting of this funding comes after Labor axed the Country Roads and Bridges program on coming to office, another blow to rural communities.

“I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that Daniel Andrews has failed to stump up the state government’s $33 million share for the final two stages of the Princes Highway duplication.  But to have it listed in the Budget papers as “completed” just shows how out of touch Daniel Andrews is – there are still two sections and 16 kilometres to go!”

Mr O’Brien said farmers in central Gippsland and the businesses and communities that rely on them were struggling through the worst drought on record, yet Labor has again ignored calls for municipal rate relief.

“Daniel Andrews hasn’t even had the courtesy to visit these farmers and his Budget reflects that apathy.

“We have also failed to see any funding for the rebuilding of Korumburra Secondary College or Foster Primary School and fire stations at Mirboo North, Foster, Yarram and Winnindoo have been left out again.

“This is a Budget where debt has doubled and taxes are up, breaking the promise Labor made at the November election.  That has occurred because Labor has lost control of spending, with the public sector wage bill up a staggering 42 per cent since Labor came to office.

“Labor can’t manage money and it’s Gippsland and regional Victoria that are paying the price, Mr O’Brien said.

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The Nationals Members for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said Labor’s 2019-20 Budget delivers more debt, higher taxes and little for Gippsland.

[1] Budget Paper 4 - State Capital Program, p 83

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