The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says the “appalling reality” of the Victorian budget is not so much what is in it; but what it has left out.
And he said the missing part of the budget – allegedly a budget for the whole state – is regional Victoria.
“If you actually go through this budget in detail; and you look at the capital program from a regional Victorian perspective, it gets less than 8 per cent of the capital program spending,” Mr Walsh said.
“Just 8 per cent; even though regional Victoria is home to more than 25 per cent of Victoria’s population; we get just 8 per cent of the budget,” he said.
“In what world do those figures add up – only in the fantasyland that is the Andrews Labor Government’s financial mismanagement of the whole state.”
Mr Walsh said the fact the Andrews government would have a budget that increases taxes just when we want to get the economy going again “defies economic logic”.
He said that was why he believes all Victorians were so bitterly disappointed in this budget.
“They actually want to see the recovery get going,” Mr Walsh explained.
“They gave up so much last year – locked down in their homes, kids at home being home educated, parents working from home, not being able to see relatives, not being able to go to the funerals of loved ones,” he said.
“People gave up so much through the pandemic that they actually want to see the recovery – and they want to be beneficiaries of the recovery, not be taxed more through it.
“And on top of those exorbitant taxes you can’t help but look at the cost overruns on the major projects in Melbourne – more than $22 billion has been thrown down another Daniel Andrews black pit.
“It is almost impossible to comprehend how much money that is.
“Yet for all the big talk by the Andrews Labor Government about absolutely urgent issues, such as mental health beds, well there’s plenty of those if you live in Melbourne – but how many did we get in regional Victoria?
“None. Zero. Or, as our esteemed absent Premier would love to say – a donut.”
Mr Walsh said you can cast your eyes over all regional Victoria and find critical projects stalled, or not even started, by the Andrews Labor Government.
And that, he said, is because Daniel Andrews, James ‘de facto Dan’ Merlino and the rest of the gang making up Andrews Inc couldn’t give a toss about us, about anyone or anything anywhere beyond the tram tracks of Melbourne.
“Just think what regional Victoria could do with a fair share of wasted $22 billion – just about every decent size town in Victoria could have a brand spanking new hospital – and probably a bridge thrown in for free if you live on any river,” Mr Walsh added.
“But no; we get 8 per cent of the capital budget; just 8 per cent and a letter reading: ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you – maybe (but not likely)’,” he said.