Well it has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few days with a rail announcement that seemed to leave Shepparton high and dry and then we discover in the Victorian State Budget on Tuesday that we have a commitment of $43.5 million. These funds are coming straight from the State, and, unlike the other regional rail announcements, will not be dependent on the federal government paying the money it owes to the state through the asset recycling scheme. The funding for Shepparton is therefore secure and will mean the government can commence works without the uncertainty about federal money being paid before works can start.
From my point of view this was a dream budget with funding for:
- More than $4.5mill for six primary schools across the electorate including our smaller schools at Wunghnu and Ardmona;
- $1mill Shepparton Education Plan (announced last week) to commence planning for next year’s budget, firstly, for our four state secondary colleges in Shepparton and Mooroopna, but eventually rolling out to primary schools and early childhood services;
- $3mill across three years for the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project;
- $200,000 Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence being funding to prepare a business case for what could be a remarkable project;
- Free public Wi-Fi in Shepparton
- a Specialist Family Violence Court in Shepparton;
- The design of pilot projects based on the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Masterplan that maximize the irrigation and other groundwater within the district; and
- More generally our regional businesses will benefit by the 25% reduction in the payroll tax and increased threshold across regional Victoria.
It is an amazing outcome that, in addition to the $168.5 million for the Goulburn Valley Health redevelopment last year, we have this year received so much more. Shepparton District is truly on the map and I believe that being a marginal seat with an independent is making the difference that all of those who had the courage to vote for me hoped it would. I am very proud to represent this community.