regional jobs | July 01, 2015

Concerns over Labor's Infrastructure Fund - Application Guidelines

Wednesday 1 July, 2015

The Andrews Labor Government is using its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund as a way of cost-shifting so it can spend more in Melbourne, Member for Morwell, Russell Northe said today.

The fund’s guidelines were released earlier this week.

“This week’s announcement has confirmed my fear that the Melbourne Labor Government is using its ‘regional fund’ as a way to cost-shift and spend more in the city,” Mr Northe said.

“Unlike the Coalition’s Regional Growth Fund, this is not extra money for rural and regional Victoria.

“It is a grab bag of projects that would normally be funded by departmental budgets like health, sport, education and agriculture.

“By throwing all these projects into its ‘regional fund’ the Labor Government has more money left to spend on projects in Melbourne.”

Examples include the dental prosthetics and training centre in the Latrobe Valley, which should be funded by the health or education budgets, the Horticultural Research Foundation, which should be funded by the agriculture budget and the Stawell Gift and Eureka Stadium, which should be funded by the sport budget.

Mr Northe said around $210 million – or almost half – of the fund had already been committed.

“You have to wonder whether these guidelines were simply developed to suit the government’s political agenda, given it was done retrospectively,” Mr Northe said.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said Labor’s regional fund was another example of the Andrews Government being Melbourne-focused at the expense of regional areas such as Gippsland.

“The Coalition made sure our Regional Growth Fund was used for projects that would develop regional areas,” Ms Bath said.

“This government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund really seems to pale in comparison.

“Labor is sneakily trying to look as though it’s spending money in regional Victoria when really this government is investing that absolute minimum that can be spent on regional development under the legislation.”


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