Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland was joined by Shadow Minister Brad Rowswell in Kilmore and Broadford this week, with the pair discussing the urgent need for upgrades and funding for crucial projects in the region.
Mr Rowswell was invited to the towns by Ms Cleeland as part of a regional budget tour, where crucial projects across the Euroa electorate were visited and discussed to highlight the tangible benefits of regional investment.
The pair discussed projects that were seeking funding ahead of this month’s State Budget, including the Kilmore Bypass, upgrades to the Kilmore SES, and school issues in both Kilmore and Broadford.
Kilmore and Broadford, like many other towns within the Mitchell Shire, have continued to grow rapidly over the past decade and Ms Cleeland said there needed to be sufficient education options to match this acceleration.
“The Mitchell Shire is growing at a rapid rate with Broadford and Kilmore booming,” Ms Cleeland said.
“It is critical that we ensure this growth is supported with education options for locals.
“Kilmore remains without a public secondary school and the nearby Broadford Secondary had to turn away several families at the start of this year due to the school being so close to capacity.
“There is obvious demand for public secondary schooling in Kilmore.
“While Assumption is a fantastic school there is no way every family can afford to send their kids there.”
Ms Cleeland has continued to raise the issue in parliament, address the Minister for Education about progress during a sitting in February.
In response to questioning from the Member for Euroa, the Minister for Education revealed in March that a site had been identified for a potential secondary school in Kilmore, however there were no immediate plans to fund the construction or building of the school.
“This is why The Nationals committed to both funding a business case for a new public school in Kilmore as well as $8 million towards upgrading Broadford Secondary College.”
Ms Cleeland and Mr Rowswell also discussed another election commitment The Nationals made, rebuilding an upgraded shed on the existing Kilmore SES site on Green St.
This commitment was matched by the government after community and National Party advocacy and is set to be included in the upcoming budget.
“The team at Kilmore SES do an incredible job, covering an area where population is booming, all the way down to Beveridge,” Ms Cleeland said.
“New members are having to be turned away due to the lack of capacity at their current shed and there is no room for storage or upgraded infrastructure.
“Members contribute to the SES in so many different capacities and a new shed needs to include accessibility and amenity upgrades.”
Ms Cleeland has consistently pushed for this investment to come to fruition as quickly as possible, as the Kilmore SES has seen a sharp uptake in call outs over the past few years.
Recent comments from Ms Cleeland in parliament included questions to the Treasurer if these upgrades will be included in the State Budget, which is set to be announced on Tuesday, May 23.
“The Nationals pushed hard for this funding, visiting multiple times, and bringing Shadow Ministers here to see the desperate need for new facilities,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The SES owns the site. All we need to see is the Treasurer put money in this year’s budget and get the ball rolling.”
The Kilmore Bypass was also discussed during the visit, with the stalled project being one of the key talking points for the region.
“For Labor to be standing here after eight years in government and not have completed a business case or costed the bypass is laughable,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The Andrews Government is happy to progress metro infrastructure with no business cases and complete complex planning procedures in an incredibly short period of time when it suits their electoral needs.
“Sadly, this government continually ignores regional Victorians – nothing is more symptomatic of this than the Kilmore bypass.”
Shadow Treasurer Brad Rowswell was thankful to Ms Cleeland for inviting him to Kilmore and Broadford and showing him integral parts of regional communities.
“Regional communities across Victoria, such as Kilmore and Broadford, stand to benefit so much if these projects receive funding,” Mr Rowswell said.
“We see this Government pay $10 million in interest on the State’s debt every single day. Some of these projects only require a fraction of that amount and would be an enormous help to these towns.”