Opposition slams state budget 

LOCAL opposition MPs say they aren’t expecting much from tomorrow’s state budget. 

But Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum says the government has a proven track record of funding local projects. 

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said there were many projects and areas which needed funding but were unlikely to receive it. 

Ms Edwards said further cuts to the CFA and public service had been raised and said local schools were awaiting funding. 

“Golden Square Primary got $1 million last year of a proposed $5 million rebuild and Castlemaine Secondary received enough funding last year to commence one building,” she said. 

“They need full funding to complete these schools. I’d also like to see a start and completion date for the Castlemaine police station.”

Ms Edwards said mental health services needed more funding while Ms Allan said the Calder Highway needed upgrades. “They’ve ignored the need to invest in planning funding for the upgrade of the Calder Highway interchange at Raywood in the last two budgets,” Ms Allan said. “You would hope it would appear in this year’s budget to be shovel ready for any future federal funding.”

But Mr Drum said there had been record state government spending in Bendigo. “The past two years have seen record investment in the Bendigo region in the form of the hospital, the theatre and jail project, funding for the new library, construction works at The Capital theatre, the extension of the exhibition centre at the showgrounds and the redevelopment of the old police station and law courts to name a few,” he said. 

“I can assure you we will be announcing a surplus in tomorrow’s budget which will put this state in the best financial situation of any of the states in Australia.” 

Mr Drum said there had been a “slight tightening” in the government’s past two budgets and said the debt left by the previous Labor government had been reduced.

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