Blackwood responds to budget criticism
Baw Baw News By William PJ Kulich // 12:07, Monday 13 May 2013
LOCAL Liberal MP Gary Blackwood has defended the state budget’s offerings for Narracan, saying there are “a number of announcements” that will affect residents.
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Last week local Labor MP Matt Viney said Mr Blackwood had “turned his back on the region” in the 2013/14 budget.
In responding to questions from The Warragul Citizen, Mr Blackwood said the budget was strong for the area.
“The Victorian State Budget delivers strongly for both Narracan and the wider Victoria,” Mr Blackwood said.
“There are a number of announcements that Narracan residents will share in or have direct access to.
“In the last 12 months I have also made a number of additional announcements for funding outside the regular Budget process.
“These announcements strongly demonstrate our Governments commitment to the region and ensuring we have active investment at all points of the year and not just come the State Budget.”
Mr Blackwood listed the following funding announcements:
- “$170million over three years for road maintenance program designed to renew deteriorated roads with a further $90 million for resurfacing works to make roads more resilient to wet weather
- “a complete overhaul of the Victorian Fire Services Levy, which will on save the average Narracan residence $103 per year
- “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
- “$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 experience
- “$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
- “$16 million for grants to landholders and regional organisations to support native vegetation and threatened species
- “supporting first home buyers and job creation in the housing construction industry by boosting the First Home Owner Grant to $10,000 for newly constructed properties and reducing stamp duty from 1 July 2013
- “$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, growth corridors and regional areas.”
Mr Blackwood also said the state government was continuing to fund the Warragul Railway Station Precinct upgrade and the extension and redevelopment of the West Gippsland Hospital’s emergency department.
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