Budget money tipped to flow

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BENDIGO should fare well in Tuesday's State Budget, says La Trobe University Bendigo political expert Ian Tulloch.

Mr Tulloch said both Bendigo state seats were marginal and likely to attract significant announcements.

“We must remember this is an election year in Victoria,” he said, “and we usually see a number of innovative and generous policies introduced in the budget before an election.”

“Both Bendigo seats are marginal, and I think if the Coalition government is anticipating trying to take one of those seats at least off Labor, you would expect a bit of pork barreling.”

Mr Tulloch said most cuts had already been made by the government with spending now likely.

“My feeling is that even if there are some generous surprises in the State Budget, it’s going to be almost completely swamped by the Federal Budget in terms of its impact on the electorate.”

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said Castlemaine residents were keen to see the construction of the secondary college continue.

The Bendigo Tennis Centre is also likely to be funded, she said. 

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said Bendigo had been left behind by the government in favour of other regions. 

Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said he hoped the budget would contain announcements for virtual schooling and digital delivery, alternative settings for students who don’t fit into mainstream schooling and money to fix issues with science, technology, engineering and maths.

“We had a recent Auditor General report noticing rural students still lag behind those from Melbourne,” he said.

“I think there’s scope and some opportunity to do something there.”

Premier Denis Napthine noted past funding announcements. 

“Our budget will build on existing initiatives such as the Bendigo Hospital project and Regional Rail Link to continue to add to the livability of Bendigo and attract business investment to the area,” he said.

Dr Napthine noted the government had committed to fixing the Ravenswood Interchange. 

“This budget will confirm our commitment to fix the notorious Calder Highway interchange at Ravenswood, it will also allocate additional funding for further life-saving road safety projects.

“Other transport initiatives include the purchase of additional VLocity carriages and the roll-out of Wi Fi on V/Line services. 

“We look forward to announcing further positive initiatives for Bendigo and central Victoria in the 2014/15 State Budget.”

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