Bendigo MPs label budget a 'hoax'

DISAPPOINTED: Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

DISAPPOINTED: Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

BENDIGO MPs Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan say the State Budget is a "hoax on the local community". 

Member for Bendigo West Ms Edwards welcomed $15 million for the Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre project but said there was no guarantee it would go ahead. 

"(Premier) Denis Napthine has only discovered the pool on the eve of an election," she said.  

"The government had three years to support the pool, and in an election eve panic has thrown money at the project with no guarantee it will start.

"Denis Napthine knows there is a $5 million black hole and this pool project won’t go ahead without money from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and (the federal) government. 

"This is a hoax on the community." 

Ms Edwards said she was concerned about the lack of funding announced in the State Budget on Tuesday for the Castlemaine Secondary College. 

She said if the Labor Party won the election in November it would commit $8 million for stage two of the project compared with Liberal's $5.5 million.

"The Castlemaine community has been betrayed by the Liberal Nationals government," she said. 

"This is a low-cost version of the secondary college and as we know it is a four-stage project. 

"The funding falls well short of what the school expected for stage two and will mean the school will have to make adjustments and probably reduce the number of classrooms in that stage two project."

Ms Edwards said it was "disappointing" and "a slap in the face". 

Member for Bendigo East Ms Allan said local TAFE students and employers were on their own under the current state government. 

"Our Bendigo TAFE is set to be taken over by Melbourne-based Kangan TAFE," she said. 

"Denis Napthine's Budget does nothing to stop this by providing vital funds to keep Bendigo TAFE in Bendigo.

"A recent survey showed 70 per cent of residents knew about Denis Napthine's Bendigo TAFE funding cuts and 66 per cent opposed the Melbourne TAFE take-over.

"This Budget does nothing to address the crisis in TAFE that is hurting students." 

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