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Victorian Nationals

Peter Walsh – Labor ignores regional spending amid population boom

New data confirms people are leaving Melbourne in favour of regional centres, yet the Allan Labor Government continues to shortchange those living beyond the metropolitan boundary.


The Regional Movers Index highlights Geelong and Ballarat as growing destinations for city movers in a shift that is now significantly more than a Covid trend.


It comes at a time when the government in this month’s State Budget allocated just two per cent for new regional infrastructure and services of the $98 billion budget total spend.


Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Peter Walsh, grilled Premier Jacinta Allan on the alarming gulf in funding in State Parliament, with Ms Allan doing nothing to deny the staggering figures.


In effect, the government is spending just two per cent of infrastructure funding on regional Victorians even though it is home to 25 per cent of the state’s population – which is increasing given the new Regional Movers Index data.


Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, has called out the Premier over the tiny allocation, questioning how such a small investment would help regional families, whom the Bendigo-based Premier herself admits are struggling.


“When spruiking the budget, the Premier said: ‘Many regional families are doing it tough right now.’ How is spending a mere two per cent on new infrastructure services helping regional families, who, by the Premier’s own admission, are doing it tough?” Mr Walsh said.


Walsh criticised the Allan Labor Government for its lack of planning for regional development.


He emphasised that regional Victoria is being shortchanged, with state infrastructure funds predominantly directed towards metropolitan Melbourne, while health services in regional areas face cuts and roads remain unsafe.


“I always encourage more Victorians to enjoy the lifestyle regional Victoria offers,” Mr Walsh said.


“Labor clearly doesn’t have a plan to cater for more people moving to regional areas.


“Labor is cutting health services through amalgamations, regional roads are crumbling. It is time Labor stood up for regional Victoria.


“But the sad reality is the Allan Labor Government can’t manage money, and all its funds are being drained by metropolitan projects, leaving regional Victorians to pay the price.”


Walsh reaffirmed The National Party’s commitment to regional Victoria, pointing to a guaranteed 25 per cent of project spending will be allocated to regional areas, reflecting the 25 per cent of the state’s population residing there.

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