The Nationals Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty today welcomed the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2013/14 Budget investments in the Lowan electorate.
Mr Delahunty said the 2013-14 Victorian State Budget delivered for families and communities right across Victoria, including the Lowan electorate.
“The Coalition Government has provided a record $6.1 billion for infrastructure in 2013-14 to boost economic growth, productivity and improve liveability,” Mr Delahunty said.
Regional and statewide initiatives in the Victorian Budget in which the people of Lowan could benefit include:
• $170 million over three years for a road maintenance program which includes $90 million towards renewing deteriorated roads by strengthening the pavement and a further $80 million for resurfacing works to make roads more resilient to wet weather;
• $33.7 million over the next two years to expand the Coalition Government’s planned burning program, as recommended by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission;
• $8 million tourism campaign to drive regional tourism, while raising awareness interstate and internationally, of Victoria’s regional destinations and experiences;
• $61 million for upgrades and replacements of rural fire stations;
• $4.7 million over two years to help better protect the livestock industry from serious disease, with a particular focus on preparing for an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease;
• $2.3 million for Rural Financial Counselling Service providing assistance to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses suffering financial hardship;
• a record $14.34 billion in health funding state-wide to treat more patients and manage the increasing pressure on the system, including $81.5 million for regional hospitals and health services;
• $11.6 billion in education funding statewide to improve student outcomes and ensure Victorians have the skills needed for the future;
• $91 million extra for out-of-home care across Victoria to continue work in improving the lives of vulnerable children;
• $46.2 million extra to support Victorian children across the State in the vital years before school, including $7 million to build and upgrade children’s centres and kindergartens across Victoria;
• A $200 million TAFE Structural Adjustment Fund will support proposals from TAFE institutes for innovation, collaboration, structural reform and business transformation;
• $16 million for grants to landholders and regional organisations to support native vegetation and threatened species; ¬and
• boosting the First Home Owner Grant to $10,000 for newly constructed properties and reducing stamp duty from 1 July 2013.
Mr Delahunty said that families and householders in western Victoria will also benefit from the Coalition Government’s reforms to the Fire Services Levy (FSL). The property levy replaces the old levy on insurance premiums, leading to a fairer system – with all property owners making a contribution to the fire services, rather than just those who take out insurance.
“Obviously I am disappointed we did not receive funding for three schools in my electorate - Bainbridge College Hamilton, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, and the Horsham Secondary College,” Mr Delahunty said.
“However, the Government must responsibly balance and prioritise the capital needs of over 1,500 government schools across Victoria and we are committed to upgrading government primary and secondary schools across the State,” he said.
“I was pleased to see nine schools in the Lowan electorate share in nearly $840,000 to attend to maintenance issues. As we all know western Victoria has wonderful schools with talented teachers who provide quality education for our children, so the maintenance funding is very welcome to these schools,” Mr Delahunty said.
“Today’s Budget is about building for growth for all Victorians. Responsible economic management means the Coalition Government can invest in critical infrastructure and better services,” Mr Delahunty said.
Mr Delahunty said funding announced in the 2013-14 Victorian Budget was in addition to the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) – a record eight-year investment in the regions to deliver a greater quality of life, new opportunities and increased prosperity to all Victorians.
“Across Victoria, the RGF has so far invested a total of more than $250 million into 900 projects worth more than $900 million, expected to create 3,700 direct jobs and a further 3,800 indirect jobs.
“Last week I announced $500,000 for the Dunkeld Memorial Hall redevelopment and I will be making a further $500,000 announcement for Horsham in the near future,” Mr Delahunty said.
“This Budget will not only benefit Lowan, but the prosperity of the whole state,” Mr Delahunty said.