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Did the State Budget forget Golden Plains?
GOLDEN Plains Shire Mayor, Cr Owen Sharkey said council is disappointed by the recent State government Budget.
He said Ballarat and Geelong are set to benefit in the next financial year, but Golden Plains stuck in the middle, will receive “very little.
“Clearly, the State budget was focused on delivering promises the Labor government made during last year’s election campaign,” Cr Sharkey said.
“Without marginal electorates, Golden Plains Shire only received one project promise during the election, and that project was the only commitment for our Shire in last week’s Budget, $220,000 to repair the Haddon Stadium floor.”
Member for Buninyong, Michaela Settle is happy to action the upgrade which the community has asked for.
“We all know how sports can bring a community together. I am so glad that I can deliver this upgrade which will provide the community with not only a new surface, but a safer surface and a surface that is easier to maintain,” she said.
Cr Sharkey said the Shire is strengthening conversations with State and Federal governments, ensuring they understand the growing area’s needs, and in turn, make investments.
Council is particularly concerned about upgrades and improvements to the shire’s extensive road network.
“The State Budget didn’t have any roads money for our Shire,” Cr Sharkey said. “Ballarat, with four or five times our population, received $60.8 million to upgrade seven intersections in the city.
“Regional Roads Victoria has committed to a number of upgrades in our shire, and council recently secured State government funding for the widening of Linton-Mannibadar and Pitfield-Cressy Roads, but we were disappointed this year’s State budget didn’t have a commitment for the duplication of the Midland Highway and hope to hear positive news on that front soon,” he said.
“We do, however, strongly fly the flag for rural Victoria and the 52 towns of our Shire. We require more State and Federal government investment to deliver quality infrastructure and community programs for our residents.”
Ms Settle is positive that her government’s budget delivers for all Victorians.
“There is fantastic news in this budget for all parts of my electorate including Golden Plains,” she said. “The budget announcement that there will be 25,000 specialist appointments made available in Ballarat is welcome news from one corner of the electorate to the other.
“For those living in Golden Plains, this will be a huge relief, as a trip to Melbourne for someone sick, injured, or with a disability can be quite traumatic. Now that help is close to home.”
Member for Polwarth, Richard Riordan put his emphasis on budget gaps.
“In short, there is no good news for the Golden Plains Shire. Like all regional areas and communities that are not Melbourne, there has been no joy,” he said.
“Golden Plains Shire has campaigned long and hard for funds to progress the Bannockburn Heart project. Support is needed to relocate the CFA and SES. This has again been left out.
“Priority road projects and dangerous intersections continue to be ignored along the Midland Highway and the Skipton Road.
“Disappointingly, road safety measures will be cut while funds are withdrawn from the TAC and used to prop the ailing budget. The new St Mary MacKillop school still has not had its ownership resolved preventing a multi-million dollar redevelopment.
“The list goes on, but these are some of the high-profile low lights.”