Nationals have strong policies for regions

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I WRITE in response to Jacinta Allan’s claims about Labor, the Nationals and country Victoria.

The Nationals drove the establishment of the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, money set aside to drive jobs growth, investment and innovation in regional and rural Victoria.

The fund has invested more than $394 million into almost 1400 projects, leveraging $1.57 billion in total investment across rural and regional Victoria.

The Coalition Government has also delivered the three highest CFA budgets in history and has increased TAFE budgets over and above what Labor was allocating, despite Ms Allan’s desperate repeating of untruths around these issues in the hope that people start to believe what she has repeated so often.

The Coalition Government’s $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program is repairing the road networks Labor ignored.

The $61.4 million Growing Food and Fibre initiative is helping increase the productivity and profitability of our farmers.

And our government’s investment in world class specialist medical facilities in regional Victoria’s health and hospital services is delivering projects like Australia’s biggest ever regional hospital, the $630 million new Bendigo Hospital.

Labor’s own transport policy details how Labor will slash regional roads spending from $340 million to $125 million a year to pay for the removal of level crossings for Labor voters in Melbourne, where 32 of the 40 level crossings it claims it will remove are in Labor electorates.

Labor does not have a genuine country candidate for either of the Upper House seats for northern or eastern Victoria, because the faceless men controlling Labor preselections chose Melbourne-based candidates.

When Labor was in power, its Regional Fast Rail blew out from $80 million to almost $800 million; Myki blew out by about $500 million to $1.5 billion and the desalination plant we’ve never needed blew out from $2.9 billion to more than $4 billion on construction alone.

The desalination plant will continue to cost us $1.8 million a day for the next 27 years for a total of more than $18 billion plus the $4 billion for construction.

That’s enough to build 22 Royal Children’s Hospitals.

Then there was the broken promise that created the $750 million north-south pipeline white elephant and disastrous mismanagement of the NVIRP modernisation project as confirmed by a scathing Auditor General’s report.

Labor also refuses to commit to keeping the Regional Growth Fund.

In three years of Opposition, Labor has asked just one question of me regarding regional issues.