Investment in Portland a good thing – but more detail needed

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says any type of funding that helps create jobs in Portland is a good thing – but more information is needed on a Government budget announcement.

Ms Britnell said the $17.9 million “Portland Diversification Fund” seemed to be an expansion of the program announced in last year’s budget.

“I always think investment in regional areas is important, but this is just a little lacking in detail,” she said.

“It talks about a broad range of projects including freight road upgrades and an economic diversification fund.

“It also says it will set up an office of government agency Rural and Regional Victoria – having government eyes and ears in regional areas is a good thing – but it needs to be more than just another bureaucracy, this office actually needs to deliver for the Portland community.”

Ms Britnell said she would seek more information about what specific projects the project would fund and when the community can expect to see work beginning.

Ms Britnell said she was disappointed that the budget failed to deliver any additional funding for road maintenance funding and completely ignored key projects in the Portland and Heywood areas.

“No increase in road maintenance funding means we are going to get more of the same,” she said.

“As costs for materials continue to rise, it will cost more to do the work – meaning even less roads will get attention despite the worsening deterioration.

“Labor managed to find $6.4 billion dollars to cover cost blowouts in two of its major projects in the city – the Metro Tunnel and the West Gate Tunnel – but it can’t find an extra dollar to fix country roads or for other projects in the region.

“This budget increases taxes but country motorists will have nothing to show for the extra they are paying.”

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