The Nationals Member for Shepparton, Kim O’Keeffe, says the Andrews Labor Government’s recent budget has shown its contempt for the Shepparton District and Regional Victoria.
The brutal State Budget has slashed millions in funding from key portfolio areas including health, roads, emergency services, agriculture and infrastructure.
Ms O’Keeffe said the regional development budget has again been cut, halved from $211.5 million to $106.6 million in this year’s State Budget.
“Since 2020, the regional development budget has been slashed by 80 per cent as a result of the Andrews Labor Government,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“Major projects such as the Shepparton Bypass have been ignored as has Stage 2 of the Goulburn Valley Health Redevelopment.
“We need to see the Federal and State Government work together in collaboration in order to deliver critical infrastructure projects in regional Victoria such as the Shepparton Bypass.
“This Government says health is a priority in this state, but they leave our community with an unfinished unfunded hospital redevelopment.
“Local Councils in regional Victoria are spending money on architecture designs for infrastructure projects such as the Shepparton Sports Stadium to have these projects shovel ready for funding, yet after time and time again we are seeing these priority projects and much needed community facilities continuing to be ignored by the Andrews Government.”
Projects that have been committed in previous budgets of the State Government such as the new Early Parenting Centre in Shepparton are being delayed.
Ms O’Keeffe said the government has slashed more than $250 million in road maintenance funding for an already crumbling network, including in the Goulburn Valley where notoriously unsafe roads have cost lives.
“People are doing it tough, and this budget does not have enough meaningful measures to address the housing crisis and the rising cost of living,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“We want people to be able to afford a home, afford to pay their rent and to get food on the table.
“Under Labor, Victoria is broke, life keeps getting harder and regional Victorians are being punished for the Andrews Government’s incompetence.
“The state’s debt is costing Victorians $10 million per day in interest alone and this will continue to rise under this government. This budget is the consequences of historic financial mismanagement by the Andrews Labor Government.”