Farmers, families in regional Victoria paying more, but getting less

Rural and regional Victorians have been robbed in today’s Labor State Budget.

Labor’s latest State Budget sends a clear message that this is a government that’s out of money and raiding the pockets of country families, farmers and small business owners.

Nearly $285 million slashed from regional development and $61.3 million butchered from the agriculture budget.

Cuts to biosecurity, no new money to fix our crumbling regional roads and millions of dollars plundered from regional public transport to pay for trains in Melbourne.

In a blow to our farmers and farm businesses that are crying out for new export opportunities to fill the void left by trade tensions with China, the Labor Government has shaved 63 per cent from Victoria’s trade programs.

In the 2021-22 State Budget, Labor has also:

  • Failed to provide the final $5 million for planning on the Murray Basin Rail Project,
  • Cut $66.7 million from trade and global engagement,
  • More than halved efforts to develop new strategies to maintain and/or grow export opportunities,
  • Failed to invest a single cent in new residential rehabilitation beds in rural and regional communities,
  • Ignored key infrastructure projects, like the Shepparton bypass, while others like the Echuca Bridge and Kilmore Bypass suffer huge cost blowouts,
  • Cut $2.54 million from community grants that support the fight against Queensland fruit fly,
  • Overlooked priority upgrades to country schools and hospitals,
  • Halted the rollout of Orange Door services which provide crucial support against domestic violence for families in crisis, and;
  • Scrapped rural outreach workers who provide mental health support to people in the Wimmera.

These cuts come as Labor’s cost blowouts on major projects swells to $22.3 billion, including $10.79 billion on Melbourne’s North East Link and $3.43 billion on the Metro Tunnel.

Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

Labor is taxing regional Victorians more, but giving us less.

Victorian families and small businesses are shouldering the burden of Labor’s waste and mismanagement of major infrastructure projects in Melbourne.

Record numbers of people are moving out of our capital cities and into the regions, but Labor’s lack of vision for regional Victoria risks us missing out on reaching our full potential.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley: 

Regional Victorians are being slugged the highest taxes in the country, while the sickest people in our community are waiting longer and longer for an ambulance, but we’re handed scraps off the table.

Given the government tripled the debt when the pandemic struck, where will it turn if there’s a financial meltdown, another wave of the pandemic, or some other unforeseen shock? 

Taxing Victorians to pay for Labor’s massive debt is a huge risk to our post-COVID recovery. We need a safe pair of hands, but instead we’ve got a Government that’s running on a wing and a prayer.

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