Worries over budget details

Spending concerns: Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan has expressed anxieties the recently-released 2019/2020 State Budget neglects key south west Victoria projects, such as road safety upgrades and school improvements.

MEMBER for Polwarth Richard Riordan has lobbed criticisms at the State Budget for prioritising inner-city projects, describing Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas as “behaving like kids with their parents’ credit cards”.

The State Government released its 2019/2020 budget on Monday, which will see the delivery of a $2.6 billion ‘Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program’.

However, Mr Riordan said essential projects for the south west, such as school upgrades and improvements to the Great Ocean Road had been pushed to the wayside.

“Billions of dollars are being borrowed into the foreseeable future to bankroll project blow-outs all over Melbourne,” he said.

“There is no end to the largesse in Melbourne while road, rail and vital improvements to the Great Ocean Road are all being pushed out into the forward estimates.

“No timing on new trains, no money to fix coastal erosion, no funding for basic asbestos removal and window replacement in our schools and no funding for proper accident and emergency funding in our country hospitals.”

A particular target for Mr Riordan during his time in Parliament has been reducing the regional road toll, but the budget showed a $2.7 billion reduction in commitments to the Transport Accident Commission.

“This money will be used to help cover the blow-outs on Melbourne projects, while road surfaces, breath testing and other lifesaving actions on our country roads will be abandoned and cut back,” he said.

“Most Victorians know the difference between wants and needs.

“The wants in life always must come second to the basics and the needs. There will be no money left for anyone as project after project blows the budget in a wild spending spree.”

Mr Riordan said while the budget promoted a number of key projects, it would ultimately lead to necessary projects not receiving enough support.

“In four short years, Daniel Andrews has racked up a $54 billion debt that will be a noose around Victorians for generations to come, while seriously limiting the much needed investment in basic needs that country Victorians have,” he said.

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