State Budget does little to help Gippslanders

Gippslanders will see further cuts to crucial state government areas such as road funding, agriculture and regional development under the State Budget released today.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the Andrews Labor Government continues to reap enormous taxes from Victorians but is wasting money on significant cost blow outs on major infrastructure projects in the city at the expense of Gippsland projects and services.

Mr O’Brien said it was disappointing to see the road maintenance budget cut again this year on top of a 25 per cent cut last year and no amount or PR and spin can change the reality of what Gippslanders are seeing on the ground.

“We see a $47.8 million cut from the Agriculture Department along with an $87.1 million cut from Regional Development while more revenue will be taken out of Gippslanders’ hip pockets through Labor’s new housing tax,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Government has inched closer to delivering better Gippsland rail services with a commitment to new train stabling at Bairnsdale, but there is nothing for actual new train services to get people moving.”

Mr O’Brien said that there were some highlights after strong community lobbying over recent years.

“I am pleased to see $7.3 million for Yinnar Primary School which will be a major rebuild.  I wrote to Minister for Education earlier this year about the poor state of the school and the issues it has been having with flooding and I am pleased that that lobbying has paid off.

“Likewise there is $3.6 million for South Gippsland Specialist School and I know the school community there is very excited at how this will help transform their facility.

“There is also $1.5 million to finally replace the McLoughlins Beach jetty, which is a campaign that the local community and I have been fighting for some time.

“This is a great outcome and a credit to the residents and ratepayers at McLoughlins Beach who have fought to protect this important community asset and have it replaced.”

Mr O’Brien said the budget missed allocating any funds for projects like the completion of Foster Primary School, the rebuild of Sale College and the Traralgon bypass and that there is nothing for the Coal Creek bends or the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route Stage 2 on the South Gippsland Highway.

“My concern is that Labor continues to mismanage money with multibillion dollar deficits for the next few years and debt growing to $167 billion over the next four years, which will be a burden for future generations of Victorians.”

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