The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says the Andrews Labor Government has slashed a whopping $207 million from its rural roadworks budget for the next financial year.
A move he believed could signal a return to the Kirner Labor Government days when appalling decisions and fiscal mismanagement spent the state to virtual bankruptcy.
“We know the government is sailing very, very close to the wind, and we know government issued cheques have started bouncing in the past few weeks,” Mr Walsh said.
“If this Andrews Inc government is prepared to send dud cheques to our pensioners and some of our most vulnerable citizens, it is no big leap to assume it will be happy to cut budgets that actually need increasing, that it will announce financial rescue packages and then make the qualifications so tough you can’t ever qualify for the money – just to save a few bucks,” he said.
“We are already seeing that; with a steady stream of people to the door of my electorate office, or on the phone, saying they are now desperate because the much-hyped rescue packages have such narrow parameters they are excluded from any support.”
Just on the road budget cuts, Mr Walsh said at a time when his office is being inundated with complaints about roads full of potholes and crumbling surfaces, Roads Minister Ben Carroll has been basking in self-praise for the work the Andrews Labor Government is allegedly doing to fix rural roads.
He said Mr Carroll appeared before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings this week and “waxed lyrical” about the bang-up job the government is doing on regional roads.
“Mr Carroll is wrong about the work being done but he simply can’t put enough Labor Party spin on the facts of the figures – in 2020-21 the rural roads budget was $823 million and here we are, not quite 12 months down the track, and hundreds of millions of dollars have disappeared,” Mr Walsh said.
“Maybe because this spending was going the same way as the government’s $250 bonus payment to pensioners for their higher power bills and cheques from the roads department would also start bouncing when people try to cash them,” he added.
“With its multi-billion-dollar blowouts on major city infrastructure projects; the money it is paying out for botched hotel quarantine programs and the millions it is now spending to prop up businesses that should never have been forced to close I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more cheques bouncing around the state in the near future.”