The Premier for Melbourne’s Minister for Fishing and Boating is again dishing out unfair treatment to rural Victorians – agreeing to fund metropolitan councils’ boat ramps and adjacent car parks maintenance, but refusing to commit to doing the same for country councils.
In the Public Accounts and Estimates (PAEC) hearing, Jaala Pulford stated the Government would subsidise launching and parking fees at metropolitan councils that are used to fund maintenance.
But the Minister has confirmed rural and regional councils, that choose not to charge fees, instead absorbing the cost of maintenance into general revenue, will be excluded.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region said the Andrews Government would go to any lengths to treat regional Victorians as second class citizens.
“Recreational fishing and boating is a favourite pastime of many people in Gippsland. It brings in visitors to our towns and sales to our local businesses,” said Ms Bath.
“The Minister was asked repeatedly at PAEC whether the government would fund the maintenance costs for all councils, but would only say it would be “part of a future review”.
“City-centric Labor is happy to guarantee it will invest in Melbourne, only to hand our rural communities scraps off the table and refuses to promise support.”
Metropolitan councils, like Frankston, which has two boat ramps and charges fees to cover maintenance will now be subsidised in full by the Labor Government, while rural councils like East Gippsland Shire, which has 26 ramps and car parks to maintain, will be subject to a review.
Shadow Minister for Fishing and Boating Tim Bull said Regional Victorians were being ignored again by Labor.
“The city-centric Andrews Government is excluding regional and rural councils because they choose to bear the cost of maintaining their boating facilities, to the benefit of Victoria’s fishing and boating community,” Mr Bull said.
“If the Andrews Government is subsidising city councils’ boat ramps and car parks, it should offer the same assistance to rural and regional councils – which often have many more facilities and greater costs.”