Opposition leader in region

But still no Bendigo specific policies

STATE opposition leader Daniel Andrews has made a bid for local votes during a visit to Bendigo and Castlemaine, but is yet to release a Bendigo policy document.

The ALP plans to release a document detailing its policies for the region ahead of November’s election.

Mr Andrews would not say on Tuesday when the document would be released, but said voters would be given a choice between the major parties.

It will be out there well before Victorians vote with a clear sense of what we will do - Daniel Andrews

“Part of giving people real choice is making sure there are different visions of our state’s future,” he said.

“It will be out there well before Victorians vote with a clear sense of what we will do with regional Victoria more broadly, and what we will do specifically for Bendigo and the central Victoria region.”

Mr Andrews met with Bendigo Senior Secondary School principal Dale Pearce, members of Mt Alexander Shire Council and staff at KR Castlemaine.

He said the government had reduced services with local cuts to TAFE, and said ambulance and hospital services were “in crisis”.

“The Bendigo unemployment rate went just recently from 6.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent,” he said.

“You’ve got one in five young people who want a job but can’t find one.

“Denis Napthine’s answer is to cut TAFE, to hop into BRIT and to take away the funding they need to give every young person the skills they need for the job they want.”

While the opposition leader was also critical of the government’s lengthy pay dispute with paramedics, he would not say if he would sign off on the union’s demands if elected.

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum urged voters to look at the government’s track record in the region.

He said the government had funded a new railway station at Epsom, improved plans for the new Bendigo Hospital and funded improvements at the notorious Ravenswood Interchange.

“There’s the new secondary school at Castlemaine, upgraded ambulance station at Castlemaine, the multidisciplinary centre is about to built, the new justice centre in the old police station in Bull Street, and funding for the theatre at the jail which was announced by the previous government, but there was no funding for it,” Mr Drum said.

“(Mr Andrews) should hold his head in shame any time he comes near Bendigo.

“His government effectively ignored the place for 11 years.

“To their credit, Labor built four new high schools in Bendigo and they should be given credit for investing in those high schools.”  

But Mr Drum said Labor had mismanaged project budgets while in power. 

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