Next week’s 2020-21 Victorian State Budget is a critical chance to lay out a plan to restore Victorians’ lives and livelihoods.
The lessons of 2020 have created unique opportunities for regional Victoria.
Enforced working from home has showed us it’s possible to have a job in the city, while living in the country. To encourage decentralisation, The Nationals have been pushing for a $250 million fund to be implemented in this year’s State Budget. The fund would support businesses and government agencies to permanently transform operations to allow their staff to work from home more often and live where they want to.
Supporting country communities to grow is a game changer for creating new, secure jobs and boosting investment in services, like health and education.
This year’s Budget must also invest in better roads and rail for regional Victoria. Under the Andrews Labor Government progress on projects like the Kilmore Bypass, Shepparton Bypass, Ballarat Western Link Road (Stage 2) and Princes Highway (west of Colac) upgrade, has stalled or is now miles behind schedule.
Other projects, like the transformational Murray Basin Rail Project, have become a disastrous mess of cost blowouts that now need significant investment to fix Labor’s mismanagement.
We can’t afford to wait years for bold ideas to revitalise our communities.
Next week, we need action and investment in a realistic way forward that drives confidence and growth for regional Victoria.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation
Leader of The Nationals