Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says specific funding for regional and rural development projects in Victoria must feature prominently in this year’s state budget.
Ms Sheed said it was important for country communities that the $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is almost expended and due to expire on 30 June this year, is renewed.
“Being at a physical distance from metropolitan areas, regional and rural communities have often found it difficult to compete for their share of Government expenditure and a dedicated funding stream such as the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund helps level the playing field,” Ms Sheed said.
“While Shepparton has attracted record investment over the past four years for important projects in their own right, regional Victoria as a whole – including this electorate – has benefited significantly from the program.”
Ms Sheed said she raised the issue directly with the Premier during Question Time last week to ensure regional Victoria remained high on the Government’s agenda in the lead up to the April state budget.
She said a specific regional and rural fund gave businesses incentive to either invest in country areas or expand existing operations for the benefit of community.
“There have been enormous contributions to a range of local initiatives that have led to increased jobs and industry growth across the Shepparton District,” Ms Sheed said.
“Booths Transport in Strathmerton received $8 million to deliver 77 new jobs; Murphy Fresh in Tatura and Katunga Fresh in Katunga have benefited from $10 million to create a total of 92 new jobs; and we had a $10 million contribution towards the new Shepparton Art Museum – just to name a few.
“The value of these projects to the sustainability of our regional communities cannot be underestimated, and I urge the Government to continue what has been broadly acknowledged as a successful approach to regional development funding.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org