Community Facilities Regional Development | June 29, 2015

Melbourne Labor moves funds away from regions: Drum

The Andrews Labor Government is using its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund as a way of cost-shifting so it can spend more in Melbourne, Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Damian Drum, said today.

The fund’s guidelines were released in Castlemaine today.

“Today has confirmed my fear that the Melbourne Labor Government is using its ‘regional fund’ as a way to cost-shift and spend more in the city,” Mr Drum said. Mr Drum is the State Shadow Minister for Regional Development.

“Unlike the Coalition’s Regional Growth Fund, this is not extra money for rural and regional Victoria.

“It is a grab bag of projects that would normally be funded by departmental budgets like health, sport, education and agriculture.

“By throwing all these projects into its ‘regional fund’ the Labor Government has more money left to spend on projects in Melbourne.”

Examples include the Horticultural Research Foundation, which should be funded by the agriculture budget, the Stawell Gift and Eureka Stadium, which should be funded by the sport budget, and the dental prosthetics and training centre, which should be funded by the health or education budgets.

Mr Drum said around $210 million – or almost half – of the fund had already been committed.

“You have to wonder whether today’s guidelines were simply developed to suit the government’s political agenda, given it was done retrospectively,” Mr Drum said.

“This is yet another example of this government being totally Melbourne-focused at the expense of rural and regional communities.”

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