LIBERAL candidate for Bendigo Sam Gayed has backflipped on a promise to ask his party to "beat any promise (made) by Labor by 10 per cent''.
Mr Gayed wrote on the Bendigo Advertiser's Facebook page on Wednesday night that he would "not match any of Labor's pledges" in Bendigo because they were "absolutely random and a waste of taxpayers money".
Mr Gayed also criticised the Labor Party's investments in Bendigo, saying "when you see the kind of promises the member for Bendigo is making, you wouldn't want to match them anyway".
His comments come a month after the Bendigo businessman said he planned to ask the Liberals to match and add 10 per cent more funds to any pledge for community projects or initiatives within the Bendigo electorate. The Liberal Party is yet to make Bendigo-specific funding announcements.
When questioned on Facebook about future Liberal Party contributions to the Bendigo Airport development, Mr Gayed said the party has already invested $5 million into phase one of the airport.
"We must wait and see the demand and performance before going ahead with phase two," Mr Gayed said in a Facebook comment.
"How come you want to invest more without having analysed current performance?"
The Labor Party's Bendigo pledges total $13 million for local projects so far.
Labor pledges to Wednesday 8 May:
- Macedon Ranges Sporting Precinct: $10,000,000
- Bendigo Airport: $4,400,000
- La Trobe Rural Road Trauma Research Hub: $2,000,000
- Bendigo Showgrounds: $935,000
- Ken Wust Oval: $425,000
- Female Change rooms - Harcourt Recreation Reserve: $250,000
- Canterbury Park Lights: $125,000
- City of Greater Bendigo Paths to Recovery (Maiden Gully, Epsom, Strathfieldsaye): $400,000
- Macedon Ranges Paths to Recovery (Kyneton): $200,000
- Huntly Primary School: $50,000
- Crusoe College: $25,000
- Funding for 40 full time centrelink jobs
Labor Party candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said Mr Gayed's social media comments "demonstrate how out of touch he is".
"All of these projects that I have put forward are what community members have come forward with," Ms Chesters said.
"You can tell that he hasn't been engaged or active in the community and it just reinforces the message that the Liberal Party has forgotten about Bendigo."
Ms Chesters said she was "very surprised and disappointed" Mr Gayed and the Liberal Party have not put forward their own plans for infrastructure in the Bendigo region.
"Under the Coalition government, we have had to fight for every dollar and it shouldn't be a fight," Ms Chesters said.
"This election campaign, the Liberal Party has had money to splash out in other electorates. They have splashed money in Flinders and splashed money in Geelong but nothing here in Bendigo."
"The candidate in Bendigo is not fighting for the electorate."
The other five candidates who are running for the seat of Bendigo have been contacted to confirm if they have any Bendigo infrastructure commitments.
Greens' candidate Robert Holian said his party would provide 1380 new public and community homes in the Bendigo electorate, as well as free dental care for 32,300 children and 33,700 pensioners and welfare recipients by 2021.
Mr Gayed was contacted for comment.
The Bendigo Sustainability Group, Bike Bendigo and Commoners Co-op have released their final scorecard on how candidates' policies rate on issues like the environment, public transport and general community well being.
The three community groups put forward a series of questions to the candidates in early April.
Labor candidate Lisa Chesters, Greens candidate Robert Hollian and United Australia Party candidate Adam Veitch were the only Bendigo candidates who responded to the questionnaire.
"It was disappointing that some candidates didn't respond," Commoners Co-Op member Elsie L'Huillier said.
"We think it's a problem in the community if parties have policies that they are unable to share with people."
Liberal Party candidate Sam Gayed, Rise Up Australia Party candidate Sharon Budde, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party's Julie Hoskin and Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party candidate Vaughan Williams did not respond to the questions in the deadline.
"Some of the candidates were late in nominating so we extended the period for them to send in answers to the questions," Ms L'Huillier said. "We only stopped accepting responses last night."
The three community groups organised a forum last week, where candidates were invited to take questions on many of the issues raised in the survey.
Only Mr Gayed, Ms Chesters, Ms Hoskin and Mr Hollian attended the forum.
"The Liberal candidate attended the forum and we understood he was happy to participate in the survey," Ms L'Huillier said.
"But it seems that the formal participation in writing was something that he didn't do.
"We don't know why the candidates didn't respond to the questions but it is still disappointing."
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