The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has slammed the 2019/20 Victorian State Budget announced today which failed to include funding for vital Shepparton projects and exposed delays to Shepparton transport projects.
Disappointingly, today’s budget failed to include the State’s share of funding towards Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass project. This year’s Federal Budget allocated $208 million towards this vital Shepparton project and all that is delaying construction of Stage 1 of the project, including the second river crossing, is the failure of the State Government to provide their share of funding. Today’s budget also confirmed a delay in delivery of the business case and early works for this project which were funded two years ago.
The 2019/20 State Budget also confirmed that work to upgrade Shepparton passenger rail services will be delayed for at least another six months. While other regional centres like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat enjoy many daily services, all Shepparton gets is more delays.
The budget does nothing to progress the construction of the new secondary school in Shepparton, a project that is expected to cost approximately $120 million and is so far significantly underfunded with only $20.5 million committed in last years’ budget. The Government’s failure to fully fund construction of the school buildings will only add to the considerable uncertainty and angst of parents and students who have been asked to commit to the new school as of next year.
Another major omission in this years’ State Budget is funding for Stage 2 of the Goulburn Valley Health redevelopment. This is particularly disappointing as it raises concerns about the Government’s commitment to complete GV Health, whilst they continue to invest more funds in other hospitals that have recently finalised complete rebuilds.
Other Shepparton projects ignored in this years’ budget include the La Trobe University Shepparton campus expansion, the Shepparton Sports Stadium redevelopment and Stage 2 of the SAM project.
The 2019/20 State Budget is a typical Labor budget that once again ignores the needs of the Goulburn Valley and favours other regional centres such as Geelong and Ballarat ahead of the Shepparton electorate.