Budget papers 2016-17
Statement on Budget papers 2016-17
It gives me pleasure to rise to make my closing remarks in relation to the budget papers take-note motion before this house.
I had spent some time discussing the Shepparton electorate and many of the needs of our region and also congratulating the government on providing the funding for the redevelopment of Goulburn Valley Health, our local hospital.
But I also note that the expected lease of the port of Melbourne will not only provide the money to remedy 50 dangerous and congestion-causing level crossings across Melbourne but also fund the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund. That has an emphasis on boosting exports and supporting Victorian farmers from paddock to port. Given the recent issues facing our highly efficient and export-focused dairy farmers and the general concentration of them in northern Victoria, along with the many other export-focused primary industries, I am looking forward to seeing some well-funded positive initiatives in my electorate from the fund. I will work with the government closely to identify the sorts of initiatives that we would like to see in our region.
There are many areas I have mentioned. Some of them perhaps I would have liked the time to expand on more. Many relate to infrastructure, and it is a travesty that here in Victoria we receive only 9.7 per cent of Australia's infrastructure funding. As a result regional Victoria receives only 3 per cent of that. There is much to be done at a federal level to make sure that Victoria gets its fair share of that infrastructure funding, and I find it quite extraordinary that in this current federal election campaign there is so little said about that and so little advocacy for Victoria to receive its fair share of that infrastructure funding.
One of our communities' responses to the social distress in our region is that community leaders have got together and set up the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project. This is a project that is taking a long-term approach to dealing with social disadvantage in our area. It looks to the notion of 'from conception to career', so it is looking at young people's starts in life. The project is an influencer rather than a deliverer of services, and I will be seeking to facilitate discussions with our education, health and human services and other ministers and our lighthouse project team to ensure that government departments and agencies are supportive of this project at a state and local level and that we work to cooperate in putting in place a number of projects that have been identified as highly important for our region. The project proponents are firmly of the belief that, in addition to resources in the form of money, the Greater Shepparton community will be well served by more effective coordination and utilisation of existing resources, many of which are controlled or funded by government.
What does this mean for government? Government can often be much more effective by regulating, deregulating, facilitating or really being innovative with its powers. In closing, I will continue to work hard for my electorate to ensure that its needs are highlighted and brought to the attention of government, particularly in pre-budget negotiations.