Regional jobs and businesses will be some of the hardest hit by the Andrews Labor Government’s two new public holidays, according to the state’s peak tourism body.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said despite Daniel Andrews’ claims that the new holidays would bring tourists to the regions, the truth was that most tourism businesses would not be able to afford to operate on those days.
The Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s Chief Executive Dianne Smith has now warned that: “Ultimately these public holidays will take money away from the businesses that should be supported to increase employment and create jobs.”
“Daniel Andrews is introducing these new public holidays at the expense of regional businesses and jobs,” Mr Walsh said.
“Small businesses will face the choice of either opening and taking a hit to their bottom line due to penalty rates; charging extra for their goods or services to cover the higher wages bill; or shutting their doors altogether.
“More than 353,000 casual workers are expected to lose their shifts on these new public holidays and the state’s economy will take a $1 billion hit.
“This is absolute economic vandalism by Daniel Andrews and will cost regional jobs and businesses dearly.”
Mr Walsh said the tourism body warned that: “Many businesses won’t be able to afford to operate on these public holidays due to increased wages costs and anticipated financial loss, which will be bad for tourism particularly in regional areas.”
An independent report commissioned by Daniel Andrews put the economic cost of the new public holidays at up to $898 million each year and wage payments of up to $286 million each year.
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 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.
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.”
Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional Victoria to prop up projects in Melbourne, Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum said today.
Mr Drum said the Andrews Labor Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund contained no additional money for regional Victoria.
He said it was a grab-bag of regional projects that should have been covered by general departmental budgets – like health, sport and education.
“Today’s announcement from Daniel Andrews is just more spin and no substance,” Mr Drum said.
“Daniel Andrews is using his regional fund to do the essentials, so that he has more money left in department budgets to prop up projects in Melbourne.
“Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional communities while he spends billions of dollars in Melbourne.”
It is illogical that Daniel Andrews is undertaking a costly review of Regional Development Victoria while at the same time slashing funding for regional Victoria itself.
The Andrews Labor Government has appointed a panel, headed by former Labor State Premier John Brumby, to review regional development.
In fact, Regional Development Victoria (RDV) remains an efficient link between all levels of government, the business sector and our communities, and has a track record of delivering fantastic outcomes for regional Victoria.
We don’t know how much this RDV review is going to cost, or what will happen to regional investment programs in the meantime. There is a fear it will put the regional investment on hold completely.
Meanwhile, Premier Andrews is cutting the hugely popular $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which provided funding to communities for their priority projects such as upgrading recreational facilities, parks and CBDs.
The fund secured $3 worth of investment for every $1 contributed by government and created almost 23,000 jobs right across regional and rural Victoria.
Premier Andrews is also cutting the Country Roads and Bridges Program, which provided $40 million a year to local councils so they could fix their priority roads.
Without this vital funding, those councils must either find that money within their budgets by sacrificing other community programs, or simply abandon local road maintenance projects.
It beggars belief that Daniel Andrews would cut funding for these programs while wasting money on an expensive review of RDV.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Instead of media stunts and endless panels and reviews, the city-centric Andrews Labor Government must step up and actually deliver something for regional Victorians.
- A re-elected Coalition Government commits $5 million to Bendigo Stadium
- Upgrade includes three new basketball courts and 12 new netball courts
- Victorian Coalition Government is building a more active Victoria
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum at Bendigo Stadium today to announce a $5 million funding boost under a re-elected Coalition Government.
Mr Ryan said the $5 million investment would be provided through the Regional Growth Fund and would be the catalyst for a $16.5 million project involving Bendigo Stadium Ltd and Bendigo City Council.
“Bendigo Stadium is a hub for community and elite sport in Bendigo and this upgrade will open up a new range of opportunities for the region,” Mr Ryan said.
“This redevelopment will see three new basketball courts that can be converted to a 3000 seat show court, along with 12 new netball courts with change facilities, catering for more than 500,000 annual sports participants.”
Mr Drum said that the upgrades would help grow participation in a number of sports.
“Basketball, Netball and Volleyball will all get additional new facilities, facilities that are needed to keep pace with demand for sport in the city,” Mr Drum said.
Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley welcomed the investment and said the upgrades would see Bendigo attract more events to put the city on the national and international stage.
“We’ve seen the Stadium successfully host the WNBL Grand Final twice, the Australian Goldfields Snooker Open and the recent Australian Diamonds netball Test, proving that Bendigo supports big events,” Mr Bickley said.
“These upgrades mean Bendigo can host big sporting and entertainment events all year round.
“Already NBL Basketball and ANZ Championship Netball are on the agenda through interest from Melbourne United and the Vixens, and in addition these benefits will be enjoyed by our own Bendigo Spirit and Bendigo Braves players and fans.”
Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon said the commitment was great news for Bendigo and the new facilities would be an economic driver locally.
“Professional sporting events are one example, but also national and international basketball, netball and volleyball underage tournaments and titles could come to Bendigo, as well as attracting big music and entertainment events,” Mr Langdon said.
“I am proud to be working as part of a strong Coalition Government team which continues to deliver for Bendigo and the Goldfields regions.”
- $4.7 million commitment to extend one of Mildura Airport’s two runways
- Will allow planes to land more often, in all weather conditions
- Only the Coalition will build a better regional Victoria
A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will invest $4.7 million into extending one of Mildura Airport’s two runways to cater for more flights, more often.
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at the airport today to make the multimillion-dollar election commitment, from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
“This extension of one of the two runways at Mildura Airport will mean large commercial planes such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s will have more room to land and take off in almost all weather conditions,” Mr Ryan said.
“This will accommodate more frequent flights in and out of Mildura Airport to cater for ever-increasing passenger numbers.
“Local member Peter Crisp has been lobbying strongly for further improvements to the Mildura Airport and I am pleased to say today that it will be delivered by a re-elected Coalition.”
Minister for the Aviation Industry Gordon Rich-Phillips said the funding commitment followed $5.2 million provided by the Coalition Government for the Mildura Airport Terminal Redevelopment Project in 2012, which saw the terminal completely remodelled and brought new air services to the region.
“Thanks to the terminal redevelopment, Mildura is now serviced by three major airlines – Qantas, Virgin and Rex – with regular flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“There are currently 210,000 people using the airport each year and that figure is expected to double over the next decade if patronage keeps increasing at the current rate.”
Mr Crisp said the runway extension would cater for that forecast growth by allowing planes to land and take off safely in all conditions.
“This will mean more flights, more often,” Mr Crisp said.
“The Coalition Government recognises that the Mildura Airport is at the heart of our region’s economic development and tourism.
“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition is committed to seeing Mildura become even more of a thriving, vibrant regional city and tourist destination.”
- World Under 21 Speedway Teams Championship to come to Mildura under Coalition Government
- A re-elected Coalition Government will continue the Significant Sporting Events Program investing a further $3.5m over the next 4 years
- Napthine Government investing in sporting events to build a better regional economy
A re-elected Coalition government will bring the 2015 Under 21 Speedway Teams motorcycle championships to Mildura thanks to a $3.5 million boost to the Significant Sporting Events Program, Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp announced today.
Mr Drum said this would be the first time Mildura has hosted a motorsport event of this stature and is just one of many national and international sporting events that will be held in regional Victoria under a re-elected Napthine Government.
“A Napthine Government will provide $100,000 worth of Significant Sporting Events Program funding to bring this world-class event to Mildura,” Mr Drum said.
“”This event is expected to bring more than 2000 visitors from around the world to Mildura and there is a projected economic boost of $5 million to the region from the staging of the Championships.”
“This is why a re-elected Coalition Government will increase funding for the Significant Sporting Events program by $3.5 million over the next four years. This is in addition to the $4.8 million already locked into the budget.
Mr Crisp said the Mildura Motorcycle Club had worked extremely hard to bring this event to Mildura.
“Our Government provided an initial Regional Development grant of $200,000 that was leveraged into $580,000 by the club members to upgrade the facility,” Mr Crisp said.
“That initial investment has made Mildura hosting international motorcycle events possible and today we’re thrilled to announce that this will happen under a re-elected Coalition Government.”
“Aside from the economic impact, and the encouragement it will provide for young people to take up the sport, I am particularly excited about the possible worldwidemedia exposure for the Sunraysia.”
“A Coalition Government gives regional Victoria a true voice in terms of attracting international sporting events”.
“Regional Victoria deserves major sport and it’s the Coalition that works hardest to make that happen.”
An independent review of events held from 2012-2014 found a an average return on investment of 12.8 to 1 from the estimated 68,700 interstate and 7,150 international visitors to events supported by the program., many of these events being held in regional Victoria.