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Daniel Andrews’ secret plan to dismantle V/Line

Thursday 28 June 2018

Daniel Andrews’ secret plan to dismantle V/Line

Daniel Andrews and his failed Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan, must come clean on their secret plan to swallow up country rail services into the struggling metropolitan PTV system.

The Andrews Labor Government has appointed Jeroen Weimar, CEO of Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to the role of V/Line Board Chairman from 1 July.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh

Only a Premier for Melbourne would orchestrate the takeover of our country rail services by Melbourne-focused bureaucrats.

Our regional communities want their rail services strengthened, not swallowed up by a city-focused administration that is preoccupied solving Melbourne’s commuter crush.

As Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan recently tried to take over and centralise bus services and only failed because private bus operators fought back against a raw deal that would have disadvantaged country communities.

Now its revealed Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan also have a secret plan for centralising our country rail services.

It’s time for Labor to come clean and tell us exactly what they are planning for our rail services because Regional Victoria can’t afford any more dud deals from the Premier for Melbourne.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Davis

Make no mistake, Daniel Andrews and his Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan, are beginning the process of destroying V/Line, Victoria’s country rail operator.

Not content with smashing its performance, they are now putting in an urban Board Chair with clear riding instructions to make V/Line fit the Metro mould.

How will Mr Weimar deal with this clear conflict of interest when the priority of Metro trains conflict with country rail – V/Line – services? Whose side will he take?

The fear is that Metro services will repeatedly override country trains.


Background: Victoria’s Rail Performance

Daniel Andrews’ city-centric government has crushed country rail performance since coming to government on almost every measure. The performance on country rail has collapsed since November 2014.

  • Punctuality has reached the lowest level in over five years and one of the lowest levels on record across the V/Line network.
  • Punctuality is far below that achieved in 2014 (79.3% vs 90.8% Nov 2014).
  • Nearly 10 times as many services were cancelled in May (335) across the V/Line system than in Nov 2014 (36).
  • The 92% target for punctuality has never been achieved over the last 4 years under Labor.

The May performance of V/Line is shocking but the solution is not a take-over of country rail by Daniel Andrews’ city-rail expert. The terrible fact is that city-rail performance has also declined.

Jeroen Weimar’s performance in conjunction with Minister Allan’s has seen:

  • Punctuality well below 2014 – 90% in May 2018 vs 94.3% in November 2014.
  • Punctuality fell to second lowest level in the last four years in May 2018.
  • Punctuality continues to trend down since 2014.
  • Punctuality is below the 92% target on 12 of the 16 metro lines.
  • Labor is running over 3,000 less services on time in May 2018 across the Metro system than the previous Coalition Government did in November 2014.

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Labor all bark and no bite on wild dog control

Tuesday 8 May 2018
Labor all bark and no bite on wild dog control
Daniel Andrews’ city-centric Labor government is leaving livestock – and farmers’ livelihoods – under threat.
Wild dog controllers have been banned from using larger dog control traps due to “animal welfare concerns”.
These traps are used to trap wild dogs that viciously maim, disembowel and kill lambs, calves and native fauna.
Asked about it in Parliament today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford appeared to have no idea the ban, in place since December 30, had been implemented.
Regular wild dog attacks on livestock have a devastating financial and emotional toll on landholders in North East Victoria and Gippsland.
But the Andrews Labor Government has progressively dismantled successful control measures to appease Greens voters in Melbourne.
When it was elected, Labor sacked the well-qualified Wild Dog Advisory Committee and axed the wild dog bounty, before giving in to calls to reinstate the bounty more than 12 months later.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
High country farmers and communities are beyond frustrated at Labor’s lack of interest and lack of leadership on wild dog control.
Labor’s more interested in protecting itself against losing city votes to the Greens than it is the welfare of livestock and our landholders.
It’s no wonder country people feel ignored by Labor when the Agriculture Minister will always go in to bat for the interests of Melbourne’s Fitzroy latte sippers over our farmers.
The Premier for Melbourne should remember: the only good fox is a dead fox and the only thing better is a dead wild dog.

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Liberal Nationals will bring back Country Roads and Bridges Program

Wednesday 18 April 2018
Liberal Nationals will bring back Country Roads and Bridges Program
An elected Liberal Nationals government will fix country roads and save country lives.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure David Hodgett announced today if elected, the Liberal Nationals will bring back the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program.
By contrast, Daniel Andrews axed the program when he was elected in 2014, leaving councils struggling to meet the cost of maintaining local roads.
Approximately $1 million in grants will be provided to Victoria’s 40 rural shires each year over four years.
The grants will help restore and rehabilitate council-maintained roads and bridges, which have deteriorated under Labor’s neglect.
People in rural Victoria are over-represented in the road toll. In 2017, 156 lives were lost on roads in rural Victoria, compared to 102 on roads in Melbourne.
The Country Roads and Bridges Program will give rural Victorians the safe and reliable infrastructure they deserve.
Comment attributable to Opposition Leader Matthew Guy
The Liberal Nationals will get Victoria moving with the high-quality, safe roads and infrastructure regional and rural Victorians deserve.
Daniel Andrews is the Premier for Melbourne, I’ll be the Premier for all Victorians.
Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh
While Daniel Andrews is reducing speed limits on country roads, the Liberal Nationals have a plan for the safe, reliable infrastructure rural Victorians deserve.
If you fix country roads, you save country lives – and that’s exactly what this program will do.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure David Hodgett
Daniel Andrews axed the Country Roads and Bridges Program, leaving Victoria’s rural councils struggling to maintain their local roads network.
The Premier for Melbourne prefers to put country infrastructure funding into improvements near his own suburban electorate, only an elected Liberal Nationals government will invest in road safety improvements in rural Victoria.

Media releases Education and Skills Community Services

Liberal Nationals will ensure a brighter future for young rural Victorians

Saturday 5 May 2018
Liberal Nationals will ensure a brighter future for young rural Victorians
An elected Liberal Nationals government will give our youngest rural and regional Victorians the best start in life, lifting education opportunities through better support for parents and children in the early years of schooling.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan announced the Liberal Nationals’ $80 million Brighter Futures Fund in Shepparton today.
Mr Walsh said the Fund will be the first step in a dedicated investment to transform education for our youngest rural and regional Victorians.
“A child’s future shouldn’t be determined by where they live, but we know there’s a persistent disadvantage in education in rural communities compared to the city,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will work to close the rural education gap because we believe the long-term prosperity of our country communities relies on our young people having a brighter future.”
The Victorian Auditor General recently found ‘there is no sign that the gap in performance is likely to narrow. Indeed, in some areas of performance, the gap is getting wider’.
Results of the most recent Australian Early Development Census show 15 of Victoria’s 20 worst performing LGAs for early childhood education are in rural and regional Victoria.
Action is needed to ensure our children have the best start in life.
Ms Ryan said the $80 million Fund will be invested in integrated education hubs – a one-stop-shop for allied health, early childhood, maternal and child health services, and tertiary education.
“A short-term plan won’t secure real change. We know real change will only happen with a dedicated generational approach,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Premier for Melbourne’s promise to make Victoria the ‘education state’ ends at Melbourne’s tram tracks.
“An elected Liberal Nationals government will do more than create number plate slogans.
“It takes a village to raise a child and we’ll help build that village to ensure children in rural and regional Victoria have a brighter future.”

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Liberal Nationals support deer meat for pet food industry

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Liberal Nationals support deer meat for pet food industry

A Liberal Nationals Government will work with hunting groups and pet food processors to expand Victoria’s pet food processing program to include deer.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Liberal Nationals recognised the role hunters play in controlling problem deer numbers and also saw an opportunity to further support Victoria’s pet meat processing industry.

Mr Walsh said Victoria’s deer population needed appropriate management to limit negative impacts on public and private land.

“Introduced deer populations must be managed, both for environment protection and also for safety on our roads,” Mr Walsh said.

“Expanding Victoria’s pet food industry to include deer meat makes sense because it makes productive use of hunted deer that may otherwise go to waste and it also supports jobs and investment in our hunting and pet food processing sectors.”

Record numbers of deer were hunted in 2016, with Victoria’s 35,000 licenced hunters recording nearly 100,000 deer – almost twice the average since 2009. In the same year, deer hunters contributed $142.1 million for Victoria’s economy.

Both the Australian Deer Association and the Victorian Farmers Federation have expressed support for expanding the pet food industry to include deer.

A Liberal Nationals’ Government would work with hunting groups and pet food processors to support control of problem deer on private and public land and subsequent use of controlled deer carcasses as commercial pet food.

Mr Walsh said similar to the Liberal Nationals support for making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent, including deer meat in the pet food program would be good for regional jobs.

“Daniel Andrews is standing in the way of new regional industry because he is scared of growing support for the Greens in Labor’s inner-city electorates,” Mr Walsh said.

“The pet food program is common sense. It makes use of a resource that would otherwise go to waste, creating jobs and investment in regional communities.

“Only the Liberal Nationals support our hunters and will give our pet food processors investment certainty by making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and expanding the program to include deer.”

Media releases Infrastructure Regional Development Community Services Transport

Twice as many trains and at faster speeds under the Liberal Nationals

Monday 23 April 2018
Twice as many trains and at faster speeds under the Liberal Nationals
Shepparton will finally get the rail service it has long wanted under a Liberal National plan to revitalise the city’s rail services and help decentralise Victoria’s economic and population growth.
The Liberal Nationals will double the current number of return rail services from Shepparton to Melbourne.
Through a $77 million investment the Liberal Nationals will increase the number of daily services from four to eight and track conditions will be vastly improved to allow maximum train speeds of up to 130 km/h, significantly higher than the current limit of around 95 km/h.
The Liberal Nationals’ plan will also see up to 32 road level crossings fully protected on the Shepparton line, eliminating the need to slow down and enabling maximum speeds to be maintained for as long as possible.
New remotely controlled automatic signalling will be installed on the line along with new sleepers, ballast and drainage.
The announcement is part of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to invest in heavy rail upgrades and to decentralise Victoria’s growth, creating a state of cities, not a city state.
It also follows the Liberal Nationals’ $633 million announcement to replace all diesel hauled country rail services with six carriage long haul VLocity railcars, which would operate all Shepparton services.
Gone will be the days of waiting for emergency repairs on ageing 1980s rolling stock and consistent broken air-conditioners on hot days, Shepparton will finally get a first class rail service.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
“A government I lead will deliver faster, comfortable and more reliable rail services for Shepparton. As one of the largest cities in Victoria, Shepparton deserves no less.
“One of the most effective ways to decentralise Victoria’s population and economic growth is to upgrade our rail network and this is exactly what a Liberal National government will do.
“While Daniel Andrews is only interested in being the Premier for Melbourne, I will be the Premier for all of Victoria.”
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh:
“The Labor Premier for Melbourne is putting billions into the Melbourne metro and leaving Shepparton on the slow train.
“This commitment, in addition to the purchase of new long-haul trains, reflects the Liberal Nationals’ vision for Shepparton becoming a major regional centre as part of our plan to grow the whole state, not just Melbourne.”
Comments attributable to Liberal Candidate for Shepparton, Cheryl Hammer:
“The Shepparton community has told us loud and clear that improved connectivity to and from Melbourne is essential for building our future. 
“I am proud to be part of the Liberal Nationals team that will deliver a faster, more reliable train service giving us the opportunity to better showcase our region, and move our travelling public in the manner they deserve."
Comments attributable to The Nationals Candidate for Shepparton, Peter Schwarz:
“Modern, fast, reliable trains and more services on the Shepparton line will be a terrific asset to attract people and new businesses to our community.
“The Shepparton region has a lot to be proud of and the better public transport links that will be delivered by an elected Liberal Nationals government will help our community grow.”

Media releases

Statement on Barnaby Joyce

Friday 23 February 2018

Statement on Barnaby Joyce

Attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

Barnaby Joyce is a tenacious and unabashed champion of rural and regional Australia and there’s no doubt communities across the country will reap benefits from Barnaby’s strong advocacy long into the future.

The State Nationals team thank Barnaby for all he has done to boost investment into roads, rail, water infrastructure, communication services, country jobs and industries and much more for the benefit our regional communities here in Victoria.

As I’ve already said, the leadership of the Federal Nationals is a matter for the Federal Nationals Party Room.

The State Nationals will continue to work productively with our Federal team to advance the issues that matter most to the people and communities we represent in regional and rural Victoria.

Media releases Agriculture Infrastructure Environment Regional Development Community Services

More Labor lies on wire rope barriers

Thursday 22 February 2018

First, Luke Donnellan denigrated and disrespected country Victorians. Now he is straight out lying to us.

Asked today in Parliament if Labor’s botched placement of wire rope barriers would result in workers mowing kilometres of the Hume Fwy grass verge with push mowers, the Roads Minister responded ‘no’.

But photographs of workers mowing the edges of the Hume Fwy with push mowers suggest otherwise.

Luke Donnellan’s own guidelines on wire rope barriers state that the ongoing maintenance of areas on both sides of the barrier should be taken into account when installing them.

Further they state “the cost, practicality and Occupational Health & Safety implications of the maintenance of these areas need to be considered in accordance with Section 28 of the OH&S Act 2004.”

The use of push mowers on the Hume Fwy clearly does not comply with the Minister’s own guidelines.

Luke Donnellan must explain why the botched rollout of wire rope barriers has breached his own guidelines.

Daniel Andrews and Luke Donnellan must start listening to the legitimate safety concerns of country people.

Media releases Education and Skills Community Services

Half a billion missing from the education department

Thursday 15 February 2018

Victoria’s training budget was underspent by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2016-17 but no one seems to know where the money has gone.

Asked today how much money was returned to consolidated revenue, department officials appeared to be struck by a case of amnesia.

Department officials are not just confused about where the money’s gone, they are also unable to get their story straight on the extent of Labor’s cuts.

The figures provided at Public Accounts and Estimates Committee today don’t match up to the figures provided at hearings in May.

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government services, released earlier this month, revealed that in 2016 Labor underspent the student training budget by a staggering $502 million.

Comments to be attributed to Shadow Training, Skills & Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan

Higher skills and training officials have got a serious case of the ‘umm’s.

It just isn’t believable that hundreds of millions of dollars could vanish from the department and no one knows what it’s been spent on.

Daniel Andrews cannot continue to claim he is providing record funding for training when the $1.2 billion student training budget has been cut by half a billion in just one year.

Labor’s cuts are of unprecedented magnitude and are a betrayal of his promise to ‘rescue’ TAFE.

Media releases Agriculture Infrastructure Environment Regional Development

Liberal Nationals to make kangaroo pet food trial permanent

Wednesday 14 February 2018

A Liberal Nationals government will give Victoria’s emerging kangaroo pet food industry certainty and make the current trial program permanent.

In Seymour to make the announcement, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Liberal Nationals will also expand the program to take in other areas where kangaroo numbers are out-of-control.

“The kangaroo pet food industry doesn’t need another extension, it needs certainty,” Mr Walsh said.

“Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor Government refuse to support this fledgling industry and the jobs it’s created.

“Unlike Labor, the Liberal Nationals are committed to helping Victorian farmers, making sure processors have confidence to invest in the industry and supporting existing and future jobs.”

The industry has been dogged by uncertainty, with the Andrews Labor Government failing to commit to the program, despite it proving to be an outstanding success.

Since the trial was established by the former Liberal Nationals government in 2014, about 87,000 kangaroo carcasses, that would have otherwise been discarded, have been processed.

Currently, the trial is restricted to 16 regional LGAs, but the Liberal Nationals’ plan would expand it to all rural and regional LGAs.

A permanent program would align with the guidelines of the existing trial and would not change the requirement for Authority to Control Wildlife permits to be issued for any kangaroos used as pet food.

Mr Walsh said the Liberal Nationals would give industry certainty, even if Labor refused to make the trial permanent when it expires at the end of March.

“In plague numbers, kangaroos cause extensive damage to fences, compete with domestic animals for food and water and trample crops,” Mr Walsh said.

“The kangaroo pet food trial has proven this creates jobs in regional Victoria and it makes use of a resource that would otherwise rot in paddocks.

“The Andrews Labor Government isn’t prepared to guarantee this industry’s future, but the Liberal Nationals will.”