Labor Premier Daniel Andrews has once again shown complete contempt for rural and regional Victorians in backing a federal Labor decision to cut projects worth millions of dollars and shelve grant applications for others, including a vital childcare centre in Yarriambiack Shire.
The Victorian Premier has today refused to call out the federal Labor Government’s axing of close to $1 billion in Victorian road and rail projects and its moves to abandon multiple grant schemes that were set to deliver critical investment in rural and regional Victoria.
The federal government has announced it will not proceed with any funding applications made in round six of the Building Better Regions, among them a Yarriambiack Shire Council grant application to build the Dunmunkle Childcare Centre in Murtoa. A $6.4-million submission from Horsham Rural City Council for works that form part of the City to River development will also be shelved. Both applications have significant council co-contributions.
Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Emma Kealy said funding to redevelop Nhill’s Davis Park, proposed under the Community Development Grants scheme, was also in doubt.
“This is an absolutely appalling outcome for our communities, made even more difficult to take when all Daniel Andrews can say is, ‘that’s a matter for the federal government’,” she said.
“Our councils and communities have fought relentlessly for these projects, and to have their applications thrown back at them – with no pushback from the self-declared “Premier for all Victorians” – is a crushing insult.
“We know Daniel Andrews has always put politics and his own self-interest first, and today he has given us another shameful example of how his loyalty is to Labor, not the Victorian people who desperately need these projects to go ahead.
“At risk in tonight’s budget is critical investment that would increase the amount of regional healthcare workers, support regional childcare services, and provide more workers for our agricultural sector.
“The Premier should be fighting for our state, but instead he is siding with his federal party mates.
“At state government level, regional spending is at just 13 per cent, and it’s clear that our communities will only suffer more now that the federal government is also slashing regional investment.
“Labor can’t be trusted to deliver the funding regional Victoria deserves.”