Regional Victorians are set to cop further cuts to services and find it even harder to buy a home with today’s State Budget no more than a PR repair plan for Daniel Andrews.
It confirmed record debt, higher taxes and more cost blowouts on Labor’s mismanaged major projects in Melbourne.
The regional development and agriculture budgets will suffer more heavy cuts in 2022-23, with $87.1 million cut from regional development and $47.8 million to be cut from agriculture.
Labor will rip up to 40 per cent more revenue from the hip pockets of already struggling Victorian homebuyers through their new housing tax.
There’s no funding for planning to fix the mess that Labor has made of the Murray Basin Rail Project meaning another lost year of gains for primary producers and transporters in north-west Victoria.
Cruel cuts to road asset maintenance will expose Victorian drivers to 12 more months of dangerously crumbling, unsafe roads.
A $100 million cut to Health Protection leaves breast cancer patients in regional Victoria facing the frightening prospect of losing vital support from specialised McGrath Foundation nurses.
Just $11.1 million for new asset initiatives for the Country Fire Authority, despite tax revenue from the Fire Services Property Levy (FSPL) expected to rise to $800 million.
And at a time when Victorian farmers and farm businesses are weathering growing uncertainty in international markets, the Labor Government will cut $46.3 million from trade and global engagement efforts.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the 2022-23 State Budget was a raw deal for regional Victoria.
“Years of under-investment by Labor has put regional health under severe stress,” Mr Guy said.
“That’s why we’ve listened to the community in Wodonga and why we’ve committed to build a $750 million teaching hospital in Mildura, because those who learn in the country are more likely to stay in the country.
“Victorians deserve a government that focuses on all of Victoria, not just Melbourne.”
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said hospitals, schools and services in regional Victoria will suffer with the spiralling debt and waste under the city-centric Labor Government.
“Regional Victoria is the engine room of the Victorian economy, with our farmers and farm businesses and key industries a crucial contributor to Victoria’s recovery,” Mr Walsh said.
“But instead of providing investments in better services and infrastructure that support the growth of regional Victoria, we’re getting less while Labor taxes us more.
“New predictions that Labor’s big new housing tax will rip $173 million from the pockets of potential buyers is a slap in the face to Victorians who have worked hard to save for their dream home.
“Labor has been in government 19 of the past 23 years. How can Victorians trust the government that got us into this mess to get us out of it?
“Only a change in government in November will put an end to Labor’s debt, waste and mismanagement.”