Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Up to $700 million secured for regional Victoria

The Liberal-Nationals have secured three times as much funding for regional Victoria from the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease than was offered by Daniel Andrews.

The Liberal-Nationals will support an amended version of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 in Parliament.

In those amendments we have secured 10 per cent of port sale proceeds – or up to $700 million – for transport infrastructure projects in regional Victoria. 

That’s compared to the paltry 3 per cent – or $200 million – originally offered by Daniel Andrews, and welcomed by the VFF president. 

After countless empty threats by Treasurer Tim Pallas, Labor has finally backed down and agreed to our sensible proposal which will deliver a better deal for all Victorians.  

Unlike the city-centric Andrews Labor Government, the Liberal-Nationals stand up for regional communities and fight for their fair share. 

Daniel Andrews’ proposal to send 97 per cent of the port sale proceeds to level crossing projects Melbourne was not a fair deal. 

We will not accept the scraps off the table thrown to regional Victorians by the Andrews Government.

Media releases

Appointment of The Nationals Victoria State Director

Sally Branson has been appointed The National Party of Victoria’s State Director. 

Victorian President Peter Schwarz today welcomed the appointment of Sally to this role, as an eminently qualified professional who will provide strong leadership for the party.

Sally has worked extensively across rural and regional Australia in community development and in senior public affairs roles in both the private sector and in international diplomatic and defence relations. She most recently served in the Office of The Prime Minister and in a senior leadership role for a Commonwealth Minister.

Along with her professional qualifications and post graduate studies in regional development, Sally brings to the role her great love for rural Victoria and passion for the parliamentary system. She looks forward to working together with both the members and Parliamentary team to ensure country voices are well represented in Victoria’s political and social conversations.  

Sally is from Colbinabbin in rural Victoria, where some of the very first meetings of The National Party of Victoria were held one hundred years ago. 

Sally will carry on the great work of departing State Director Jenny Hammett who showed great leadership and diligently worked as both a member of the party and as State Director.  

Sally will commence in the role on March 2, 2016.

For more information contact State President, Peter Schwarz – 0419 118 069

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Walsh congratulates Federal Nationals colleagues

Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh has congratulated his Federal colleagues following significant changes this week, including new party leadership and Cabinet positions.

Firstly, Mr Walsh welcomed Barnaby Joyce as the new leader of the Federal Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister in the Coalition Government.

“Barnaby tells it how it is, and has been a strong voice for rural and regional Australians for many years,” Mr Walsh said.

“There is no questioning Barnaby’s passion for country communities and he will be a dedicated leader of The Nationals going forward.”

NSW Senator Fiona Nash is the new Deputy Leader and was today announced as Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health in the new Federal Cabinet.

“Congratulations to Fiona, who has been a fierce advocate for regional communities and is the first female Deputy Leader of the Federal Nationals,” Mr Walsh said.

“Fiona’s work so far to progress the health needs of rural communities has been crucial in ensuring they can keep better pace with bigger cities.”

The Nationals have secured an additional position in the Federal Cabinet today, which sees Member for Gippsland Darren Chester promoted to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

“Well done to Darren on his much-deserved elevation into the Federal Cabinet,” Mr Walsh said.

“With his new portfolios, I’ll be talking to Darren sooner rather than later about regional Victoria’s need for roads and rail investment.”

Media releases

Statement: Warren Truss

Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh has congratulated Warren Truss on his dedicated leadership of the Federal Nationals.

“Throughout his career Warren Truss has applied a common sense approach to government decision making.”

“In particular, Warren’s commitment to securing extra funding for regional roads and especially the Black Spot program has made dangerous roads safer and saved lives.”

Media releases Regional Development Transport Community Services

Regional commuters paying dearly for train crisis

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has added to the misery of regional Victorians by admitting in Parliament that the V/Line crisis is costing taxpayers $300,000 a day in replacement buses.

At the same time, it was revealed through a Parliamentary inquiry today that the cause of the wheel-wear problems plaguing V/Line won’t be known until the end of March, while timetables won’t be back to normal until mid-year at the earliest. 

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the revelations would rub salt in the wounds of regional commuters. 

“After everything they have gone through – train cancellations, overcrowding, replacement buses, signalling faults, wheel wear – to find out it’s costing taxpayers $300,000 per day is a slap in the face for regional Victorians,” Mr Walsh said. 

“That’s $300,000 every day that could be better spent providing a better train service, or fixing up our ageing schools, repairing dangerous potholes on our roads, or improving our hospitals. 

“Just like the $1.1 billion wasted on not building the East West Link, we are seeing more money going down the drain under Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan’s watch.”

Mr Walsh said rural and regional Victorians needed some real answers on the V/Line crisis. 

“Regional Victorians are sick and tired of excuses. If Jacinta Allan can’t fix the train mess, then Daniel Andrews should step in and take over,” Mr Walsh said.

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure Community Services

Bendigo rail in crisis under Jacinta Allan’s watch

Bendigo residents will have lost all confidence in Jacinta Allan.

Just two weeks ago, she promised that “Bendigo will have better train and bus services, making it easier get to get to work or to school, and home again at the end of the day.”

But now Bendigo’s train network is collapsing under her watch, all Jacinta Allan has to offer are excuses – and no solutions.

‘Conversations’ and ‘consultation’ will not solve the countless issues plaguing VLine.

If Jacinta Allan continues to refuse taking responsibility for Bendigo’s train problems, Premier Daniel Andrews must urgently step in and take control.

Media releases

Labor must end duck season uncertainty

The Andrews Labor Government should stop stalling and decide whether it will hold a full duck hunting season this year. 

The season usually opens in March. Hunters, their families and business owners – such as supply stores and accommodation providers – should be given ample time to plan their travel or arrange additional staff.

There is no reason why there should not be a full duck season this year.

Where conditions are dry, ducks will have moved on to another location – including NSW, which has experienced flooding conditions recently.

Comments from Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh:

“It is obvious Labor is more concerned about upsetting inner-city voters than announcing a 2016 duck season. 

“Duck hunting is a legitimate recreational activity in Victoria and the Andrews Labor Government should stop stalling on the 2016 season.

“Hunters, families and businesses deserve to know whether a full season will go ahead now, so they have time to make arrangements before the opening weekend.”

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Labor’s cash grab at expense of fire-risk communities

Daniel Andrews’ Labor Government has been caught out trying to claw Commonwealth funds away from upgrades to mobile phone black spots in Victoria’s high fire-risk areas.

The Age has reported that the Andrews Labor Government lobbied the Commonwealth to change the funding criteria for its black spot program, so money meant for fire-prone areas could instead help to pay for Daniel Andrews’ commitment to improve phone coverage on trains.

The Commonwealth has said it will not be changing the funding guidelines.

It comes after Daniel Andrews axed a $40 million program set up by the former Victorian Coalition Government to upgrade mobile coverage along rail lines and provide Wi-Fi on V/Locity trains.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum:

“Daniel Andrews and Labor should be ashamed by their attempts to short-change communities at risk of bushfires.

“The only reason Daniel Andrews wants this extra funding is because he cut the existing $40 million program from this year’s Budget.

“This is another appalling snub for regional Victoria from the Andrews Labor Government.”

Media releases Regional Development Community Services Infrastructure

Statement: Labor axes Regional Living Expo

Daniel Andrews has dealt yet another blow to regional Victoria, and this one on the eve of Christmas. 

Under Daniel Andrews’ city-centric government, we’ve lost the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and the highly popular Country Roads and Bridges Program, the regional development budget has been slashed by 24 per cent, and there have been paltry investments in regional major projects and regional hospitals.

It’s outrageous that Daniel Andrews happily spent $1.1 billion of taxpayers’ money not building a road in Melbourne but he won’t invest even a fraction of this into our Regional Living programs.

Jaala Pulford was asked about the future of the Regional Living Expo in Parliament just five days ago and said “no decision has been made”.

Why didn’t the Minister come clean when questioned in Parliament last week, instead of fudging the answer and rolling out a press release five days later? It looks like Labor has been embarrassed into making a decision.

What Minister Pulford used to say – media release, 1 May 2015

“The Expo is a chance for rural and regional councils to showcase the outstanding benefits of their local areas, helping to attract potential residents, skilled workers, business and investment.”

What Regional Development Victoria says – annual report 2014/15

 The fourth edition of the Regional Victoria Living Expo was a success, attracting a record 10,156 patrons.”

“Once again, the Expo proved particularly popular with young families and working professionals, and councils continue to receive positive enquiries from attendees keen to move to their regions.”

Media releases Environment Agriculture

Funding missing from Labor’s Riparian Action Plan

The Andrews Government has again failed to properly fund the protection of Victorian riverbanks.

Before the last election, the Coalition committed to a $45 million program for fencing Crown Land river frontages.

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Today Lisa Neville has re-announced $10 million already listed in the 2015/16 Budget (BP3, p56). There is no funding for riparian land care in the forward estimates.

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The Budget also confirms (p5) there is still $105 million unspent in the government’s Environmental Contribution Levy (ECL) Fund. 

Comments from Shadow Minister for Water Peter Walsh:

“The launch of this Action Plan was the ideal time for Daniel Andrews to make a serious funding commitment from the ECL Fund to help protect our riparian reserves.”

“Farmers will also want Daniel Andrews to guarantee that the Crown Land fencing program will remain voluntary.”