The Victorian Labor Government has robbed regional communities of potential Federal funding by axing the state’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund (RJIF), Member for Mallee Anne Webster says.
The state funding of more than $100 million per year has been ripped away from regional communities, meaning councils can’t access the Federal Government’s Growing Regions Program due to the need to match funding.
“The Growing Regions Program provides grants of between $500,000 and $15 million to local government entities and not-for-profit organisations.
Roads won’t be fixed, and sporting facilities won’t be built, Councils don’t have spare cash to deliver projects, or repair roads for their communities now,” Dr Webster said.
“I have spoken to Council CEO’s and they feel stranded, Councillors are worried about being able to meet their community’s needs. One of my 12 councils has told me their total revenue is $12 million and they have 5,000kms of local roads which will remain potholed due to lack of State and Federal funding.
“Councils are not only now having additional cultural agreements imposed on every decision they make, but many feel powerless because they can’t access state funding and will not be able to access federal funding through the Growing Regions Program.”
Dr Webster met with Regional Cities Victoria in Parliament this week, who shared their concerns regarding the RJIF.
“The Andrews Labor Government needs to recognise that infrastructure spending does not finish in the outer suburbs of Melbourne – Regional Victorians have a right to investment as well,” Dr Webster said.
“By taking away the RJIF, Premier Andrews has rendered the Federal Growing Regions program essentially useless – yet again proving that Labor only governs for Melbourne and their voting suburbs.”