Labor sinks funding for better boating into big bureaucracy

Victorian boaters and fishers are getting a raw deal under the Labor Government.

Three years since the State Election, Labor Minister Melissa Horne owes an explanation on why Labor’s still not meeting their promise to invest in the sector.

At the 2018 Election, Victorian Labor promised fishers and boaters that “every cent” of collected licensing fees would be spent on initiatives designed to improve boating and fishing experiences for all Victorians through their Better Boating Fund – a promise they have now broken.

A Department of Transport Regulatory Impact Statement has revealed that 37 per cent of marine licence fees have been ripped out of boating infrastructure to cover “Regulation and Administration”, leaving just $19.6 million for actual boating infrastructure upgrades

But in this year’s State Budget, Victorian Labor has committed just 56 per cent of the value of marine licence fees (or $10.962 million) to the Better Boating Fund – leaving more than $8 million worth of marine licence fees seemingly unaccounted for.

The Better Boating Fund goes live in just over a month, but key questions around funding – and exactly how Victorian Labor proposes to prioritise the myriad projects in need of delivery – remain unanswered.

Victoria’s boaters continue to be short-changed by Labor’s deep deficits and shallow spending on the boating infrastructure that our community needs in order to safely get out on our picturesque waterways.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Fishing and Boating Brad Rowswell

Labor promised bay communities – and many other communities – that the Better Boating Fund would be the fix-all solution for our failing marine infrastructure. Two and a half years on, and they haven’t delivered a brass razoo.

Fishing and boating licence fees have been paid in good faith by hard working Victorians.

Now Labor needs to be held accountable for failing to spend 100 per cent of this cash on fixing crumbling boat ramps and jetties.

I’m ready to work with fishers and boaters to chart a course through Labor’s woeful financial mismanagement, and ensure that priority upgrades are funded.

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