State Budget snubs Greater Shepparton, say Mayor

Posted on 9 May 2013

Please note: this is an old article

It was published in May 2013, so the information may be out-of-date.

Greater Shepparton has been snubbed by the latest Victorian State budget, despite the State’s clear strategy about what is required for the development of the region, according to Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Jenny Houlihan.

"While we welcome the $2.5 million announced for the redevelopment of the Magistrate's Court, it does not really dent the level of funding neglect that our region has endured over recent years," Cr Houlihan said.

"The Hume Regional Strategy, developed by the Victorian Government to help the region prosper, recognises the needs of the Goulburn Valley sub-region in strengthening the workforce; adapting and diversifying agriculture; facilitating research and innovation in tourism, manufacturing and industry; and developing ICT and energy infrastructure that builds on existing competitive advantages. This budget does very little to meet them."

Cr Houlihan said that the recent SPC Ardmona announcement of reduced intake from local fruit growers underlined the vulnerability of the local economy if it could not diversify.

"There is nothing in this budget to indicate this is a priority for the State Government, nor is there anything significant for research and development programs to help the agricultural sector grow and adapt to changing environmental and economic conditions," she said.

"We are a fast growing regional area which needs to increase employment. This requires significant investment in modernising and diversifying our local industry," Cr Houlihan said. "We also need funding for adequate services such as public transport and roads to meet the needs of our growing population.

Cr Houlihan said that she was disappointed that there was no improvement to public transport services, which were currently insufficient to meet the needs of the local community to access services, businesses and family in Melbourne, and which constrained the region's attractiveness for people seeking to relocate from the city.

"The Federal Government recognised the potential volume of people travelling to and from Shepparton by including it as a stop in the proposed high speed rail network," Cr Houlihan said. "However, our V-Line rail and bus services to Melbourne remain inadequate, despite demand."

"In the 2012/2013 State budget, Greater Shepparton received $0 in additional capital funding for education, health and transport, lower than any comparable Victorian region. This budget is unfortunately little better," she said.

- Released 9 May 2013