Dedicated regional fund must continue

Tuesday 21 May 2019

 

A fund that’s delivered $1 billion of investment to Regional Victoria is at risk of being axed in Daniel Andrew’s State Budget next week.

The Regional Growth Fund was established by the former Liberal Nationals government, but will expire on June 30 after eight years of investing in country communities.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said Monday’s State Budget was the Andrews Government’s last chance to make sure this program continued.

“We know city-centric Labor will use any excuse to avoid investing in country communities but axing a successful program that’s delivered $1 billion to Regional Victoria, and leveraged even more, would be a new low,” Mr Walsh said.

“With funding expiring on June 30, Daniel Andrews must renew the program in Monday’s State Budget.

“Before the 2018 Election, the Liberal Nationals pledged a fresh $1 billion injection for the program if we were elected to government, but Labor failed to commit.

“Daniel Andrews must provide a substantial, dedicated fund for regional development in the upcoming State Budget.”

Since it was established, the program has assisted with masterplans, tourism initiatives, festivals and events, walking and cycling trails and other important community assets.

“Daniel Andrews will feel the wrath of our regional communities if he has axed the Regional Growth Fund from this year’s State Budget,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Premier likes politicking that he can’t get dollars from Canberra when the reality is the Federal Liberal Nationals Government is tipping billions into regional projects like the Rail Revival, water and irrigation projects, Swan Hill’s hospital, Shepparton’s bypass, Gippsland’s Princes Hwy and more while Daniel Andrews just keeps cutting and cutting Victoria’s regional budgets.”

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