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Victorian Budget dangerously underinvests in Melbourne's West

May 2, 2018


The 2018-19 Victorian Budget does not provide enough for the booming population in Melbourne’s West, according to LeadWest CEO Craig Rowley.

LeadWest, the peak advocacy body for the West, has criticised the Victorian Government for underinvesting in Victoria’s fastest growing region.

“Melbourne’s West is growing by 30,000 people a year, which is the fastest growth rate in Victoria,” said Mr Rowley.

“Unfortunately, this year’s Budget has failed to acknowledge this growth. Slower-growing regions are receiving far more funding in this year’s Budget than we’re getting in the West.

“The West’s population will more than double in the next 30 years, with nearly 1 million extra people. This growth presents a huge opportunity for Victoria, but we need significant investment to be put in place now to realise this opportunity. The 2018-19 Budget has failed to do that.”

Although it is critical of the lack of sufficient investment, LeadWest has welcomed the measures in the Budget that will benefit the West. This includes the significant spending on mental health services, as well as the funding to make a number of TAFE courses fee-free.

The West’s share of funding for new and upgraded schools is also welcome, but is tempered by the fact that much more funding is going into slower-growing areas in Melbourne’s South-East.

“The $2.2 billion Suburban Road Upgrades Package at the centre of this Budget does nothing for the West, despite our huge population growth. Last year’s Western Roads funding was a good start, but there are still huge parts of our region with large and growing deficits in road infrastructure. 

“What is also missing in this Budget is funding for the active and public transport that Melbourne’s West desperately needs to reduce our over-dependence on cars. 

“We’re disappointed that the Budget did not include a full funding commitment for the Footscray Hospital. We need to see this vital investment committed to well ahead of the upcoming election.

“We’re also disappointed that there are still no long-term plans for a much-needed second hospital in Melbourne’s outer-west, or for a Centre of Early Parenting Excellence at Footscray’s Tweddle Health Service.

“We hope that what is missing in the Budget will appear in election commitments ahead of the polls in November.  We look forward to many more announcements for Melbourne’s West in months ahead.”

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CONTACT:

Ben Bowring

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