‘Disappointed, but not surprised’ McCurdy on budget

Local Member for Ovens Valley, Tim McCurdy is disappointed with further cuts to road asset maintenance for regional Victoria in last week’s state budget.

Local Member for Ovens Valley, Tim McCurdy, has called out a disappointing Victorian State Budget for Ovens Valley, which overlooked a desperately needed new CFA station for Yarrawonga and desperately needed road maintenance funding.

“The 2022-23 Budget is set to rip through regional communities in the Ovens Valley,” Mr McCurdy said.

“This is a budget full of spin and spend, but no real plan for the Ovens Valley communities.

“Record levels of debt and deficit, with the Government’s projects in Melbourne spiralling rapidly out of control, yet we are lucky to get a dollar spent in regional Victoria, let alone here in the Ovens Valley, where the Government has only committed to $6.2 million dollars in new projects this financial year.”

“The 2022-23 Budget has seen $87.1 million cut from regional development, and $47.8 million cut from agriculture. It follows recent cuts to biosecurity efforts against fruit fly and more than 100 staff in Agriculture Victoria.

“Worse still, this budget says that the Government now expects to rip even more out of the pockets of regional first home buyers with a 40 per cent rise in the predicted revenue from Labor’s big new housing tax that will come into place next year.

“We have already seen housing prices increase by huge amounts over the past few years, with the past twelve months alone seeing median prices rise by 20.83% in Wangaratta,” Mr McCurdy said.

Mr McCurdy also flagged further cuts to road asset maintenance, as well as a variety of other regional health and emergency services which will continue to see regional Victorians struggle.

“The Premier claims to have a plan to get the budget balanced, and it seems his plan is to gut the funding from regional Victoria. It seems that every page has another kick in the guts to the Ovens Valley, and another missed opportunity.

“Much needed investment into our local CFA’s has been stomped on. The spend on health protection, which includes McGrath Foundation breast care nurses, has been cut by $100 million.

“The Andrews Government had a real opportunity to stand up and show some real and meaningful investment in regional Victoria, yet once again, seemed to stop at the edges of Melbourne.

“Regional Victoria is much more than Bendigo, Ballarat, and Geelong. 25% of Victorians call regional Victoria their home.”