This year’s State Budget has been disastrous for communities in regional Victoria with nearly $285 million slashed from regional development, $61.3 million removed from agriculture, $190m from road maintenance and over $150m from tourism and major events.
This is the view of Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who said these were the sectors our community relied on for economic stimulus.
“One top of this we also see steep rises in payroll tax, stamp duty and a new tax on businesses already paying payroll tax to fund the mental health levy,” Mr Bull said.
“Victoria’s mental health system is broken and we must act to fix it, but mental health is a core function of government and should be treated as such - rather than as a tax.
“On a local perspective, we have funds to create a P-12 College in Orbost, but the funds needed to consolidate Bairnsdale Secondary College on to one campus again missed out, as did a number of other projects including Maffra Hospital and Orbost police station.
“The disappointing element from an East Gippsland lens is the massive cuts in areas that are so important to us,” he said.
Mr Bull said it was a tough read when you see the cost blowouts on key transport infrastructure projects totalling $22.3 billion – even blowouts on smaller projects are in the tens of millions of dollars.
“The Metro Tunnel is now more than $3 billion, approaching $4 billion, over budget with the risk of further blowouts. Other country projects like the Ballarat train line upgrade has blown out by $114 million and the Regional Rail Revival projects which are 90 per cent funded by the Federal Government have been monumentally mismanaged by Victorian Labor with the blowout on the Bendigo-Echuca Line $84 million, the Warrnambool Line $36 million, the Gippsland Line $97 million,” Mr Bull said.
“City road projects are red ink wherever you look. The Mordialloc Freeway has blown out $223 million from the original promise, the Plenty Road Stage 2 upgrade $40 million and the Yan Yean Road upgrade $31 million. Even the Hallam Road upgrade blew out by $8.5 million.
“Key city rail infrastructure like the Frankston Line Seaford Stabling Project has surged from $197 million to $240 million, an almost $53 million blowout. Other city rail projects the Labor Government has lost control of include the conventional signalling upgrade promised at $360 million but now listed at $608 million, a $248 million blow out.
“The Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 has blown out by $352 million. The High Capacity Metro Train costs have blown out by $67.476 million. None of these projects are in this area, but we have to pay for these over runs. It never ends!
“These funding cuts and increased taxes are from a Government that has run out of money, largely due to its inability to deliver anything on Budget and the problem is, there is no clear plan for recovery.
“With Labor’s land tax take rising by over $1.5 billion over the forward estimates, three quarters of a billion dollars of stamp duty increases on medium priced family homes, as well as a windfall gains tax primarily on regional city housing developments all combine to place Victoria at the back of the queue when it comes to competitiveness and efficiency across Australia.
“The Federal Government increased its payments to Victoria in its budget by more than $6 billion, but the Andrews Government is still hitting Victorians with $5.8 billion in new and increased taxes.”
Friday, 21 May 2021