Regional funding stir

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

DEPUTY Premier Peter Ryan has accused Labor and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan of making a half-billion dollar blunder in their reading of the State Budget.

Ms Allan claimed there was no money allocated in the budget for the Regional Growth Fund while speaking in parliament.

But Mr Ryan said the money was allocated under the departmental budget and Ms Allan had failed to correctly identify it.

“This shows us once again that Labor cannot manage money and cannot be trusted to manage Victoria’s finances,” Mr Ryan said.

“One would think Ms Allan would have bothered to make sure she had her facts right before making public statements based on pure fiction. 

"This is another serious error from Labor’s regional spokesperson."

Mr Ryan called on Ms Allan to admit her mistake and "apologise for misleading the people of Victoria in State Parliament".

But Ms Allan hit back at the Coalition government, saying the Regional Growth Fund was not listed directly in the budget.

"To expect anyone in regional Victoria could find where the government had tucked away the regional growth fund money when Peter Ryan couldn't find it himself beggars belief," she said.

"Under questioning before a parliamentary committee, Peter Ryan could only point to where the government had tucked away the money with extensive support from his departmental officers.

"This demonstrates that Labor was right to scrutinise exactly where this money was. 

"Why anyone in regional Victoria should trust the word of Peter Ryan, the very person who has presided over deep cuts to DEPI, the gutting of TAFE, and massive increases to regional youth unemployment  is beyond belief."

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