The Hastings electorate has been ignored in Daniel Andrews’ first budget.
For 11 years under the Bracks & Brumby Governments, budget after budget neglected our area; then in stark contrast over the last 4 years under the Coalition, hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into badly needed upgrades to local infrastructure and services.
Over the last 4 years the Coalition Government provided funding for a large number of projects throughout our area, including: $110 million for the development of the Port of Hastings, $16.3 million for a new Somerville Police Station, $4 million for a Somerville Technical College, $900,000 for a new Hastings jetty and $81 Million for a major upgrade of the Frankston Hospital.
This week’s budget is unfortunately an immediate return to form for Labor with no new funding being provided for our community.
• Port of Hastings
The Budget also contains a further betrayal of our community by Labor. On Page 89 of Budget Paper 4, Labor has stripped the Port of Hastings Development Authority of all remaining money.
In a disturbing and cynical move Labor removed more than $80 Million from our community.
Just 5 months ago the Port of Hastings was building a real future for our community, already providing more than 100 jobs and preparing to provide thousands more over the coming years. Now the Port of Hastings Development Authority is just a shell with the majority of the jobs gone and with Labor delivering the final blow this week by clawing back the remaining $80 Million of the project’s funding.
While Labor said it would take advice about where Victoria’s second container port should be built, it has cynically put a stop to the critically important work that was being carried out at the Port of Hastings by snatching away this critical funding.
Even groups that were concerned about development of the Port of Hastings have spoken in glowing terms about the importance and high quality of the work that was being carried out by the Port of Hastings Development Authority.
While it’s not possible to tell from the Budget papers exactly where Labor has spent the $80 Million, as no money is being spent in our area, it’s clearly going somewhere else.
This disgraceful decision is a major blow for jobs, businesses and the economy in the Western Port area and the south east region.
• Police Resources
It’s also very disappointing that the Andrew’s Labor Government has refused to provide any funding for additional frontline police in the Western Port area.
The previous Coalition Government had funded the largest every recruitment program of police officers in Victoria's history with almost 2000 additional police, 100 further Transit Police and 950 PSOs, during its 4 years in office.
Before the 2010 election Labor told Victorians there was no problem with law and order and yet our state had the lowest number of police per population in the nation and machete and knife attacks were common place in King Street.
Prior to last year’s election the Coalition announced that it was going to employ a further 350 police; however Labor again refused to employ more.
Victorians had hoped that Labor would relent and announce more police in this budget, but unfortunately it didn’t.
In 2014 Police Commissioner Ken Lay committed to the Somerville Police Station being manned 24 hours and a public access customer service open for 16 hours a day.
Then just prior to last year’s state election the Coalition announced a further 350 front line police.
Labor failed to commit to any extra police during the 2014 state election campaign and unfortunately in this budget it has again failed to hear the call by Victorians for more police. Labor has not matched our commitment to more police and is therefore pressuring police command not to provide police for Somerville.
The first budget of the Andrews Government is just the same old Labor. It has turned its back on this community again, just as it did when it was last in office.