Regional and Rural Development

First 100 days of Labor neglect

11 March 2015

In its first 100 days the Andrews Labor Government has shown its total lack of interest in rural and regional Victoria.

Daniel Andrews has spent his time continually finding excuses to delay and abandon country projects. He made a promise to govern for all Victorians, but has clearly forgotten that our state doesn’t end at the tram tracks.

While billions of dollars are being spent on projects in Melbourne and its suburbs, rural and regional Victorians are being left to languish with deteriorating roads, schools that are shutting their doors and an agricultural industry that has dropped off the list of priorities.

The government’s city-centric focus is obvious.

Premier Andrews has promised $11 billion for the Metro Rail Project, $8 billion to remove 50 level crossings in Melbourne and is spending $100 million on a “facelift” for Flinders Street Station.

Meanwhile:

  • Premier Andrews has refused to commit to the full $220 million the Coalition allocated to upgrade and standardise the Mildura rail line – which would mean farmers could get their valuable produce to port faster and easier.
  • Premier Andrews refuses to acknowledge that he is closing rural schools like Walpeup and Toora, instead saying they are simply being “de-staffed”.
  • Premier Andrews’ solution to fruit fly outbreaks in the Goulburn Valley is a communications campaign – without any funding attached to actually help to combat the damaging pest.
  • Premier Andrews is cutting the Country Roads and Bridges Program which provided county councils around $1 million a year to fix their local top-priority roads.
  • Premier Andrews axed valuable ice forums that were to be held in regional Victoria, only to backflip under community pressure.

It has taken less than 100 days to see that rural and regional Victorians are sadly being treated like second-class citizens by this metro-focused Government.

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