The Liberals and Nationals have today called on the Andrews Government to restore the funding it has cut from Victoria’s peri-urban councils.
Last Friday, without any prior notice or community consultation, the Andrews Government removed all five of Victoria’s peri-urban councils from the Growing Suburbs Fund eligibility list.
When asked for an explanation in Question Time this week, Minister for Suburban Development, Ros Spence, claimed the list simply reverted to its pre-Covid status and would not commit to restoring the funding – even for projects and plans already underway.
The decision ensures five councils; Baw Baw, Bass Coast, Surf Coast, Moorabool, and Golden Plains, have effectively had their funding slashed, meaning the councils will either have to cut services, curtail future plans, or pass increased costs onto ratepayers.
This comes after the Andrews Government slashed funding for the Growing Suburbs Fund from $50 million to $10 million in the most recent State Budget.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Local Government, Peter Walsh, called on the Minister to urgently restore the funding.
“Once again the Andrews Government has acted without community consultation in a desperate attempt to shore up its budget bottom line and record state debt,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Minister must do the right thing and provide certainty to these councils by restoring the funding.”
Member for Narracan, Wayne Farnham, said ratepayers would ultimately pay the price for the decision.
“Councils in my electorate are amongst the fastest-growing in Victoria and desperately need this funding for vital community infrastructure,” Mr Farnham said.
“Unfortunately this is typical of the way the Andrews Government treats regional Victorians and ratepayers will ultimately have to pay the price for their mismanagement.”