The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says regional Victorians, all Victorians, should brace themselves for a tsunami of Federal budget cuts, proudly supported by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Mr Walsh says Andrews has used the blame game – bleating underfunding from Canberra is responsible for all Victoria’s problems – to cover the financial carnage with which he is rapidly destroying the local economy.
But says the Premier now has a major problem with a new wave of funding cuts – from a Federal Labor government – that Victoria simply cannot afford to have.
“Just across my electorate of Murray Plains millions of dollars has already disappeared, and Andrews and his spin doctors have tried to soften the blow by getting the Albanese government to dribble out details of the disaster coming tonight, when the budget is handed down,” Mr Walsh says.
“Projects such as Reimagining Robinvale, childcare at Murtoa, and $5.1 million from the Birchip Cropping Group for its Nexus project are all gone, while others, such as the vital Karinie St reconstruction project in Swan Hill are on the chopping board,” he says.
“Yet in a masterpiece of hypocrisy, while the Albanese government says it is cutting projects that do not have viable business cases, or where costings don’t add up, it is still happy to pledge $2.2 billion for Andrews, suburban rail loop folly – which does not have a business case at all, and which has blown out to an eye-watering $150 billion.
“In fact it is even worse – the SRL has no approval from Infrastructure Australia and Victoria’s own Auditor General has confirmed the project is not a good deal.”
Mr Walsh says Victoria is now the most indebted state in Australia – we owe more than Queensland, NSW and Tasmania combined, a financial catastrophe that has generations, not terms of governments, written all over it.
He says our grandchildren will be paying for the Andrews’ years, and probably our great grandchildren, and yet the Premier “is sufficiently smug to applaud more budget cuts from Canberra even though it means Victorians will keep paying more to keep the state afloat.
“Cost of living is the true battleground, and with the Federal Labor government already backing away from many of its big-spending promises after just a few months in office, the fight just got a lot tougher,” Mr Walsh added.
“Just as Daniel Andrews – with his appalling track record of botched infrastructure spending, botched crisis management and blowouts and bungles that in the real world would cost any chief executive their job immediately – is now supporting cuts to Victoria’s coffers instead of fighting for more,” he says.