Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:25):
My question is to the Minister for Local Government. Minister, two metropolitan councils on Port Phillip Bay receive over $100 000 per annum to subsidise maintenance on two boat ramps as part of the state government’s policy to remove launching and parking fees, which were, as the councils have stated, charged for maintenance. In effect the state government is now paying maintenance costs. If we compare this, however, to East Gippsland Shire Council, which has 24 boat ramps, and Wellington Shire Council, which has 18 boat ramps, both receive nothing for maintenance from the state government because they have never charged launch or car-parking fees. Minister, do you think it is fair that the wealthier metropolitan councils are getting subsidised for boat ramps and car park maintenance when small rural councils with lesser rate bases do not?
Ms BATH: My question goes to Minister Horne, and my question specifically is: is it a fact that Minister Horne is directing funds to wealthier metropolitan councils rather than small regional councils?
In relation to boat ramps and looking specifically at boat ramp funding, there are a number of boat ramps in Eastern Victoria Region. Specifically at Nowa Nowa the boat ramp still needs upgrading, as do a number of them. It seems to be quite unfair that local metropolitan councils are getting significant funding but these specific councils are always scratching for additional funding. Going specifically to the Nowa Nowa boat ramp, what will the minister do to provide support and ongoing funding to councils and East Gippsland council to upgrade these really important tourist facilities?