The Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has demanded greater investment in regional Victoria as the Andrew Labor Government overlooks major local investments in the State Budget.
Ms Cleeland called for funding priorities for towns within the Strathbogie Shire, including Euroa, Avenel, Strathbogie, Longwood, Nagambie, and Violet Town.
“It seems none of the projects on the initial wish list were funded in the brutal Labor budget, with the towns barely getting a mention in the several hundred page budget documents,” Ms Cleeland said.
In Euroa, Ms Cleeland spoke on the need for funding projects such as Greening Euroa, as well as critical recurrent funding for Euroa Health.
Ms Cleeland has met with representatives of the hospital since being elected, with The Nationals committing to provide the necessary funding for the hospital. This funding was not matched by the Labor Government, who have failed to respond to Ms Cleeland’s multiple parliamentary questions about the hospital.
“This crucial local health service does so much to take the strain off GV Health while serving the community with high standard aged and acute care services,” Ms Cleeland said.
“With the state government ripping nearly $1 billion from health services, the neglect of regional health care is symptomatic of a government with complete disregard for our community’s health.
“Statewide, our health system is in such a dire state with extreme waitlists and a 000 system in crisis, so it is crucial regional Victorians have local, accessible and high-quality health care – exactly what Euroa Health provides.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen major cuts across the health sector in this budget so sadly I expect these issues to continue.”
Ahead of the budget, Ms Cleeland also called for further investment in the region, particularly for sporting clubs who have been consistently advocating for upgraded facilities.
“I’ve had several conversations with sporting clubs across the electorate about their desperate need for improved and fit for service facilities,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Longwood are pushing for female changerooms and rightfully so. With close to 150 netballers using the courts during the season every home game there is a serious need for change and toileting facilities.
“Immediately after the budget, I wrote to Ministers to continue the fight for these great clubs.”
Childcare shortages in the area are set to continue, with no information provided on the new locations for childcare centres in the Strathbogie Shire.
“There are huge childcare shortages in Avenel and Nagambie that urgently need to be addressed,” Ms Cleeland said.
“These towns aren’t inaccessible backwaters but they are placed at a disadvantage when childcare is so rare.
“I’ve spoken to so many parents who are wanting to get back into the workforce but can’t because they are unable to get their kids into childcare.
“This is a real handbrake for us and places a hurdle in front of young people who want to raise their family in the country.
“We’ve got incredible local childcare providers but in some places there’s up to six kids competing for each place. It’s simply not sustainable.”
Nagambie was one of the few local mentions in the State Budget, with a water main replacement for High Street being the only new project announced.
Other references only referred to existing or completed projects.