Kealy far from im­pressed with bud­get

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy has la­belled the State Bud­get as a raw deal for many western Vic­to­rian com­mu­ni­ties.

Ms Kealy said she was dis­ap­pointed in the bud­get, claim­ing the La­bor gov­ern­ment had failed to pro­vide money to im­por­tant projects in­volv­ing hos­pi­tals, po­lice sta­tions, sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Coun­try Fire Author­ity and State Emer­gency Ser­vice.

She added that the gov­ern­ment’s fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion for re­gional schools was ‘a pit­tance’.

“War­rackn­abeal school com­mu­ni­ties have been left stunned that La­bor failed to fund stage two of the War­rackn­abeal Ed­u­ca­tion Precinct project,” she said.

“La­bor pre­vi­ously funded only part of a spe­cial de­vel­op­ment school build and part of the sec­ondary col­lege build.

“Now the schools have been left with the im­pos­si­ble de­ci­sion of ei­ther work­ing over split cam­puses when they sim­ply do not have enough staff, or just stay put and leave brand new part-built schools empty.”

Ms Kealy said Bain­bridge Col­lege in Hamilton had also missed out on ‘much-needed’ money for rede­vel­op­ment.

“La­bor has re­ally stuffed this up. Prin­ci­pals, ed­u­ca­tors and stu­dents will have to work with La­bor’s mess of half built schools,” she said.

The bud­get in­cludes money for Stawell, Dim­boola and Kaniva school de­vel­op­ment.

Ms Kealy claimed Lowan sport­ing clubs had also missed out on ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port.

“Western Vic­to­ria has a strong and proud sport­ing cul­ture, but La­bor has failed to in­vest in projects that would have had a wide ben­e­fit to our re­gion,” she said.

“It’s a tes­ta­ment to the work of Cr Tom Houli­han and the Har­row com­mu­nity that they fi­nally re­ceived fund­ing for re- de­vel­op­ment of their re­cre­ation re­serve, an in­vest­ment that is long over­due.”

“Now the schools have been left with the im­pos­si­ble de­ci­sion of ei­ther work­ing over split cam­puses when they sim­ply do not have enough staff, or just stay put and leave brand new part-built schools empty” – Emma Kealy

Pas­sen­ger rail

Ms Kealy also added the bud­get con­firmed that un­der Premier Daniel An­drews there would be no work forth­com­ing to re­turn rail ser­vices to Hor­sham and Hamilton.

“It’s ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing La­bor failed to match The Na­tion­als’ com­mit­ment to un­der­take the vi­tal $4-mil­lion busi­ness case to ex­tend V-line train ser­vices to Hor­sham and Hamilton,” she said.

“The bud­get also failed to pro­vide any com­mit­ment to the Hamilton-hor­sham coach route, which would pro­vide an es­sen­tial north-south con­nec­tion for our re­gion.

“La­bor’s bud­get pours $25-bil­lion into metro cost blowouts, but leaves lo­cal fam­i­lies and busi­nesses no bet­ter off meet­ing the pres­sures of a grow­ing cost of liv­ing.”

Ms Kealy added she be­lieved the gov­ern­ment was also dis­tanc­ing it­self from the idea of a Net­worked Grains Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in the re­gion, which emerged from the gov­ern­ment’s re­gional part­ner­ship process.

“De­spite La­bor pre­vi­ously fund­ing a busi­ness case in the last bud­get for a Net­worked Grains Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence, a project raised through the Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional Part­ner­ship, this project has now dropped off La­bor’s radar,” she said.

“What’s the point of fund­ing a busi­ness case if you have no in­ten­tion of fol­low­ing through with sup­port to make it a re­al­ity?”

Ms Kealy said the bud­get also re­flected La­bor’s ‘dis­re­spect for CFA vol­un­teers’.

“There has been no fund­ing al­lo­cated lo­cally for the CFA or SES,” she said.

“Mr An­drews has fought tooth-and-nail to tear our CFA apart. Un­like La­bor, The Na­tion­als will fight to pro­tect those who pro­tect us.”

Ms Kealy said she was par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about an ap­par­ent lack of gov­ern­ment knowl­edge of re­gional Vic­to­ria.

“Mr An­drews an­nounced a Grampians Cy­cling Plan and said it was in the Mallee,” she said.

“Caus­ing fur­ther con­fu­sion, the Grampians Re­gion Cy­cling and Trails In­fra­struc­ture, Busi­ness and Mas­ter Plan was in fact com­pleted in June last year.

“Tax­payer money would have been bet­ter spent on lay­ing tracks rather than re­do­ing an al­ready com­pleted plan.”

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