Ovens Valley communities will soon have improved mobile phone coverage as part of the construction of 109 new or upgraded mobile phone towers across the state.
Locally, new or upgraded towers have been announced for Archerton, Buffalo River, Edi Upper, Eldorado, Havilah, Moyhu and Myrrhee.
Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said the announcement would be welcomed by many residents and communities across the region which have been plagued by poor mobile phone coverage for years.
“Poor mobile phone coverage impacts on people in the operation of their businesses, day- to-day communications and during emergency situations,” Mr McCurdy said.
“For all of these reasons, improved mobile phone communication will make a significant difference.”
The federal government has announced these towers as part of its mobile blackspot program, which is being rolled out across regional Australia over three years.
“The former Coalition Government invested $40 million last year to secure funding for Victorian communities so I’m very pleased that we are seeing the result of that hard work,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Poor mobile phone service is one of the issues that is continually raised with me by members of our local communities so it is pleasing that improvements will now be forthcoming.
“Regional and rural Victorians deserve access to good quality mobile phone service and this is a great outcome for our local communities.”
A full list of locations is available at www.communications.gov.au/mobile_coverage
The Coalition is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to release its review into regional Victoria immediately.
Former Labor Premier John Brumby has provided the government with his review into ‘regional economic development and services’.
Yet his 61 recommendations will not be made public until Daniel Andrews’ Regional Development Minister, Jaala Pulford, releases her response in October – almost a year into this government.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the report must be released now.
“Regional Victorians have every right to be very nervous about this review, considering John Brumby was the architect of the north-south pipeline and desal plant disasters,” Mr Walsh said.
“We should not have to wait for the government to now review its own review. Communities deserve to know what Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford are considering for their future.
“I already have serious concerns about their Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is already almost half-spent and being used to cost-shift money into Melbourne.
“Now it looks like the future growth and prosperity of regional Victoria is being totally stalled until at least October.
“Regional Victorians are quickly growing sick and tired of the Andrews Labor Government’s constant spin and no substance.
“If the government has nothing to hide and regional Victorians have nothing to fear in this report, why can’t it be released?”
The need for funding to rebuild Korumburra Secondary College has been highlighted in Parliament this week with a petition tabled calling on the Melbourne Labor Government to fund the upgrade.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said the school was in a state of disrepair and urgently needed to be rebuilt.
“Neglected by previous Labor governments for many years, the former Coalition Government provided $5.6 million for the planning and first stage of works at the college,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Education Minister James Merlino needs to have the vision of the Coalition Government and provide the necessary funds to complete the job."
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath, who presented the petition to Parliament, said staff did a great job providing a quality education to students, but despite their best efforts, the current condition was not a conducive environment to learn in.
“As a teacher, I know that the environment students are learning in greatly influences their educational outcomes and these students need a facility that is much more contemporary,” Ms Bath said.
“The college services not only Korumburra, but communities such as Loch, Nyora and Poowong, where the population is growing.
These families need to be assured that their children will have access to a facility that caters for their needs now, and into the future.”
Mr O’Brien said the community would know that in addition to the $5.6 million for stage one, the Coalition Government made an election commitment of $9 million to fund the remainder of the rebuild.
“Labor now needs to come to the party and provide the funds to complete a new school,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It’s not fair that the students of Korumburra Secondary College are overlooked by Melbourne Labor just because they live in the country.”
Labor promised 100,000 full-time jobs within two years.
"The Back To Work Act – will support the creation of 100,000 full time jobs and will be introduced during the first sitting week of the new Parliament."
Source: Daniel Andrews media statement - 6 October 2014
"The plan will help create up to 100,000 new jobs in Victoria over the next two years."
Source: Back to Work - Victorian Labor's Plan for 100,000 Jobs
Jobs data source: ABS Labour Force figures - employed full-time persons, seasonally adjusted series (download table 5 and refer to Column S in Data1 tab)
Comments from the Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan:
"Today's announcement is a stark reminder that Daniel Andrews is failing to deliver on his promise to deliver 100,000 full-time jobs in Victoria within two years of coming to office.
"The real issue here is that since Daniel Andrews came to office there are 6,000 fewer full-time jobs in Victoria.
"Daniel Andrews' announcement doesn't address the needs of the most vulnerable young people - given it relies on participants having completed their secondary school education."
The Liberal-Nationals Coalition cannot support the Melbourne Labor Government’s proposed sale of the Port of Melbourne in its current form.
It is a dud deal for Victorians, particularly country Victorians, and would damage the competitiveness of our export sector.
Victoria is the freight and logistics capital of Australia, with the Port of Melbourne handling around 36 per cent of the country’s container trade.
Victoria’s food and fibre industries, particularly dairy, are some of the biggest users of the port.
Daniel Andrews’ proposal exposes Victorians to a massive compensation payout if a second container port is developed in the next 50 to 70 years.
Creating a monopoly for the next 70 years by restricting the development of a second container port creates a real risk that Victoria will lose trade and jobs to Sydney and Brisbane.
It would also lead to higher costs for exporters, which would be passed straight back to farmers. We have already seen port fees tipped to rise by around 800 per cent in one hit.
This deal would be a noose around the necks of all Victorians and future governments for 70 years.
This is not the proposal that Daniel Andrews took to the election. The only debate before the election was whether Victoria’s second container port should be built at Hastings or Bay West.
The current proposal just adds to Labor’s herd of white elephants and dud deals, including the desalination plant, Myki and north-south pipeline.
This morning on the Today Show, Daniel Andrews, when discussing Melbourne’s future capacity to host major events, said: "…Victoria’s been a bit sleepy in the last three or four years, well that all changes now”.
However, during this so-called “sleepy period”, Victoria either hosted or secured hosting rights for the Cricket World Cup, the Asian Cup soccer tournament, a game at Etihad in the 2012 State of Origin series, and the Liverpool exhibition match.
In the coming months, Melbourne will also host the International Champions Cup matches at the MCG between Manchester City, Real Madrid, and AS Roma, all of which were secured under the former government during this so-called “sleepy period”.
Indeed, last night's State of Origin at the MCG also had nothing to do with Daniel Andrews, with the hosting rights negotiated several years ago.
Daniel Andrews’ capacity to misrepresent and take credit for bringing these world-class events to Melbourne is absolutely shameless.
This is just another example of Daniel Andrews’ playing politics and taking the media and public for mugs.
On 9 February, Daniel Andrews’ Minister for Training and Skills promised he would release a VET Funding Review interim report within 100 days.
It’s been 121 days since then and there is still no sign of the report.
After spending years calling for more certainty in the sector, Daniel Andrews has left training providers in a state of limbo.
Despite all their promises Daniel Andrews is not investing one additional dollar into skills training in Victoria. His Minister for Training and Skills has even admitted that Labor’s training budget is exactly the same as the former Coalition Government’s budget.
Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan said the Andrews Labor Government was all talk and no action on skills training.
“Daniel Andrews has repeatedly said he will honour ‘each and every one’ of his promises, yet here is another one broken.
“Here we go again - saying one thing before the election, doing another thing after it.
“Labor has not invested one extra dollar in skills training courses and now it has failed to meet its own time-frames for the vocational education and training review.
“Training providers deserve to know the government’s intentions, given the Minister plans to introduce these reforms before the start of the 2016 training year.
“Labor needs to end the talk-fest and start delivering for Victorian students.”
Victorian Shadow Minister for Sport Damian Drum has demanded the Andrews Labor Government release full details of major sporting funds which failed to get a mention in this year’s State Budget.
In Parliament Mr Drum, Nationals MP for Northern Victoria, asked the Treasurer Tim Pallas to explain what had happened to:
- $9.8 million yet to be spent in the Shooting Sports Facilities Program;
- Funding for the Country Football Netball Program; and
- $18 million which had been ear-marked for two major Bendigo sport projects, the Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre and the Bendigo Tennis Centre.
Mr Drum told Parliament that Labor Sport Minister John Eren had been embarrassed at a recent budget review meeting by not being able to show where the funds had been included in this year’s Budget.
“It will be welcome news to many sporting clubs that the Andrews Labor Government has now backflipped and decided to continue the Country Football Netball Program and the Shooting Sports Facilities Program after I raised these issues publicly,” Mr Drum said.
“These are important programs that support local sporting clubs and encourage greater participation in sport across the state.
“But I am still concerned about the long-term future of the programs, with the government refusing to say how long they will continue or where the money is coming from.”
The Andrews Labor Government has today shown how little it cares about country sport.
Sport Minister John Eren today told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that the government had provided $2 million in the 2015/16 State Budget to continue the Country Football and Netball Program.
Yet when asked where that funding was written in the State Budget, he was unable to point to any reference to the program on any page. It is not listed in the budget.
The Country Football Netball Program has provided support for local clubs to upgrade their facilities and therefore involve more people in sport. It funded more than 110 projects during the past four years.
The Coalition made an election commitment to provide another $8 million to continue the program for four more years, and ensure local clubs have better and safer facilities and equipment.
Labor failed to make any commitment.
Comments from Shadow Sport Minister Damian Drum:
“If the Andrews Labor Government values the Country Football Netball Program then they should fund it. Sports programs can’t run with imaginary funding.
“The fact that the government doesn’t even know what it has provided to country football and netball in the budget shows just how little it cares about regional Victorians.”
In a real shock to regional communities today Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford refused to commit the proceeds from the sale of the Rural Finance Corporation to regional Victorian infrastructure projects.
This was a promise that had been made by the previous Coalition Government.
The sale of the Rural Finance Corporation last year netted a profit of about $460 million, which was earmarked for re-investment in regional Victoria.
During the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing for the regional development portfolio today, Ms Pulford refused to say whether that commitment would be honoured by the Andrews Labor Government.
$220 million from the proceeds has been committed to the Murray Basin Rail Project but it is not clear where the remainder of around $240 million will be spent.
Comments from Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum:
“Quite starkly, Ms Pulford would not answer the question following repeated requests by PAEC member and Nationals MP Danny O’Brien.
“Rural Finance Corporation was built on the success of our state’s farming sectors and regional communities rightly expect the money from its sale to be invested back into their communities – not into Melbourne-based projects, such as level crossing removals.
“Given only 2.9 per cent of the state’s major infrastructure projects have been promised outside of Melbourne, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that this money goes back into regional Victoria.
“Yet again we are seeing this government focused on political outcomes in Melbourne at the expense of rural and regional Victoria.”