Ripon motorists can’t get local pot holes fixed, but Daniel Andrews is shamelessly forcing them to pay for his West Gate Tunnel deal.
Member for Ripon Louise Staley said drivers going in to Melbourne via CityLink will take a hip pocket hit after the Andrews Labor Government signed a secretive deal with Transurban that will increase tolls to pay for a completely different new road – the West Gate Tunnel.
The Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report into the West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls which estimates the deal struck by the Andrews Labor Government will cost motorists an extra $37.3 billion in tolls.
The analysis shows that $26.5 billion of that increase (around 71 per cent) will come exclusively from CityLink users – and that includes Ripon drivers who use the tollway when coming in to the city via the Monash or Tullamarine Freeways.
“Our local country roads are in appalling condition due to funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government yet the arrogant Premier for Melbourne is making us help pay for his new Melbourne tunnel.
“We can’t even get pot holes fixed on our crumbling country roads but under Daniel Andrews’ sneaky deal with Transurban, we’ll be forced to pay for city infrastructure we aren’t even using.
“This is hugely unfair, especially when in Ripon we have country roads with much needed repairs being consistently ignored by this Labor Government,”
“It is gobsmacking that while refusing to fix country roads, Daniel Andrews is arrogantly slugging country drivers to pay for his Melbourne tunnel deal.”
Labor has axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program and slashed hundreds of thousands more from VicRoads country maintenance budget.
Last year Labor MPs refused to support a Liberal Nationals’ amendment to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill that would have increased funding for country roads.
Ms Staley said the cost of doing business would also skyrocket as a result of Labor’s deal.
“Commercial vehicles already pay higher tolls, so any movement of fresh produce or freight that goes across the state via Melbourne will also cost more with Labor’s toll increases, and there will be a third commercial category added under this new deal.” Ms Staley said.
“The last thing farmers and regional businesses need is escalating costs, but that’s exactly what the Premier for Melbourne’s dodgy Transurban deal delivers.”
Ripon MP Louise Staley has welcomed the announcement by Origin and Red Energy that they are considering entering the Wimmera Grampians gas market.
EnergyAustralia currently has a monopoly on the region, consumers have no option but to use EnergyAustralia for natural gas.
Ms Staley said EnergyAustralia’s monopoly on the region was an issue that was regularly raised by her constituents.
“This news will be very much welcomed by residents of Ararat and Stawell,”
“For too long EnergyAustralia has held the monopoly on this region, it is completely unfair, consumers have no ability to shop around suppliers and get a better price,”
“Competition is important and potentially adding Origin and Red Energy to the market supplying gas will provide a choice of retailer for gas customers.” Ms Staley said.
EnergyAustralia has been the only retailer in the region since the gas market was privatised in the 1990s.
Only one pipeline serves the area – the Carisbrook to Horsham pipeline. It is a 182 kilometre pipeline privately owned by Gas Pipelines Victoria, who has an agreement solely with Energy Australia.
“I am particularly pleased to hear that EnergyAustralia has been open to negotiations with the other gas retailers,”
“Residents of Ararat and Stawell shouldn’t be disadvantaged because it is a small market,”
“I have repeatedly raised this issue with the Labor Government’s Minister for Energy, her response “shop around”, it’s pretty hard to do that when there is no other option!”
“Labor has been in power for most of the past 20 years and have failed to do anything about this, residents of Ararat and Stawell should be able to access the same energy deals as those available in Melbourne.”
Users of the Port of Melbourne are alarmed that the Ports Minister, Melissa Horne, failed to explain in Question Time yesterday why access fees charged by the major stevedoring companies have increased from $3.60 to $80.00 per container over the past 2 years.
Following the lease of the Port of Melbourne in March 2016, the Andrews Labor Government promised that “the scope of regulated charges will be expanded to cover all trade charges for cargo and shipping movements.”
However, major stevedoring companies that operate at the Port of Melbourne have since increased their infrastructure access fee by over 2000 per cent in just two years.
These massive cost increases will be passed onto local producers, exporters, retailers and consumers in Ripon.
Communities like Ripon are built around the agricultural sector and support thousands of jobs directly and indirectly across Victoria.
Local farmers are already under pressure from drought, rising energy and water prices, and a swag of taxes from the Andrews Labor Government. The government should stay true to its word and keep these skyrocketing port costs in check.
Despite the Andrews Labor Government promising an “expedited enquiry” into these exorbitant fee increases in October 2018, the Ports Minister still has no answers for producers suffering under these soaring costs about who will conduct this enquiry, or when it will begin.
The Port of Melbourne is currently Australia’s largest container port, however these massive cost increases risk container business, and as a result could cost local jobs, being lost to ports in Sydney and Brisbane.
The Liberal-Nationals this week reintroduced a bill for presumptive cancer rights for firefighters to protect those who protect us, and again Daniel Andrews and Labor voted down this bill to play politics.
“The health and wellbeing of all our firefighters continue to be used as a political football by Daniel Andrews and his Minister, Lisa Neville” said Louise Staley MP, Member for Ripon.
“Daniel Andrews will only offer firefighter’s compensation for cancer claims, on the condition of their controversial reform – which is to tear up the CFA.” said Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Brad Battin MP.
The Andrews Government lied to our firefighters when they said they would introduce presumptive legislation within 100 days of the November 2014 election. It is now 2019, and our firefighters remain unprotected in the midst of another deadly fire season.
“In 2016, Daniel Andrews attempt to tear apart the CFA made thousands of volunteers get out and protest in the weeks leading to the electoral defeat of Bill Shorten. Daniel Andrews is now refusing to talk about protecting volunteers to remain silent during the federal election campaign as requested by Bill Shorten,” Louise Staley said.
It is time to put politics aside and protect the firefighters who deserve our respect and support when it comes to their health and wellbeing while protecting our community.
Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government continue to mock our fire services and are now blatantly refusing to protect those who protect us. The Liberal-Nationals will continue to stand up for our firefighters and ensure our fire services have a say and are represented.
Horse owners who are being forced to relocate horses away from Darren Weir’s Forest Lodge stables, have been urged to consider other Ballarat based trainers.
Local MP, Louise Staley, said today she understood some owners had to make urgent decisions on the future of their horses due to the stage of their preparation and immediate racing future.
“What I would say to those owners, bearing in mind they have to make the best decision for their horses, is that they consider other Ballarat based trainers as an option.
“This would assist with both local employment for Forest Lodge staff facing an uncertain future and also support the local economy, which will take a hit from the proceedings of the past week.
“The Shadow Minister for Racing Tim Bull, and I have been in regular discussions with Ballarat Turf Club since this unfolded and while we understand there are discussions with other high profile trainers about taking over a presence at Forest Lodge and support this, the reality is there will be a net horse loss.
“Given this, we need to be supportive of the local employees and aware of the wider community economic perspective and the more horses we keep locally helps considerably on both counts.”
Member for Ripon Louise Staley has been appointed Victorian Shadow Treasurer by Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien.
In announcing the appointment, Mr O’Brien said, “Louise Staley is a fierce advocate for her constituency. Louise brings to this role her 20-year career in finance as well as small business and farming experience. She will hold Labor accountable for its record high taxes and plans for the biggest debt binge in Victorian history.”
I am delighted to be given this opportunity and looked forward to both holding Labor to account and being part of the team to develop positive, relevant and affordable policies for Victorians.
Roma Britnell MP from South West Coast has also joined Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Ports and Freight and Nationals MP Emma Kealy from Lowan takes on the roles of Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Family Violence and Women. Richard Riordan MP from Polwarth joins the team as Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Victoria and Agriculture.
The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Member for Wannon as Federal Education Minister and as a member of Federal Cabinet ensures the region’s needs are exceptionally well represented in Canberra.
Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:
“I am very pleased to be part of a very strong team of Liberals and Nationals from Western Victoria. Together we will ensure the needs of our region are front and centre in Spring Street.
I know my first and most important role is to be the Member for Ripon to represent my constituents and deliver outcomes for them. I look forward to continuing to do so as I take on this statewide role as Shadow Treasurer.”
Miners Rest community will at last get the sport and recreation hub it needs.
Miners Rest is one of the fastest growing suburbs of Ballarat and yet Labor has ignored this community for the past four years and not delivered them any of the vital infrastructure they need.
The Liberal Nationals are committed to ensuring that fast-growing regional communities, like Miners Rest, have the infrastructure they need to be thriving, vibrant communities.
That is why we are committing $5.46 million to build the new Miners Rest Sport and Recreation Hub.
The new hub, to be built in conjunction with the City of Ballarat, will include:
- Senior and Junior Ovals
- A Community Sporting Hub, providing meeting spaces, kitchen, and female friendly and universal access change rooms
- Shared Netball and Tennis Courts
- Cricket Training Nets
- A playground
With Victoria’s growing population, it’s important that every person in our state has access to sporting facilities. The Liberal Nationals will get back in control of population growth and stand up for all Victorians, unlike the Andrews Labor Government.
Member for Ripon Louise Staley said, “Our local sporting clubs are a vital part of our community. The Liberals are proud to support grassroots sport with this commitment that will help ensure the Miners Rest community have access to new, modern sporting facilities.”
“Daniel Andrews insists on giving $225 million to the AFL to upgrade Etihad Stadium, while local communities struggle with no facilities.”
“Only a Liberal Nationals Government will get back in control of grassroots sport and provide our growing communities with the sporting facilities they need to support local population growth.”
“This funding is a real win for the Miners Rest community who, for years, have been fighting for sport and community facilities.”
An elected Liberal Nationals Government will create a brand new, targeted, tourism marketing campaign to encourage tourists to try their hand at gold prospecting and immerse themselves in Victoria’s rich goldfields history as well as enjoying the extensive landscapes in the region.
Tourists who want a genuine goldfields experience can try their hand at gold prospecting with experienced tour operators who can provide them with an authentic journey into Victoria’s rich golden past time.
A particular focus of the marketing campaign will be to encourage international tourists to Victoria for an extended stay and get them out into our regions to experience all Victoria has to offer.
This campaign will help shine a light on regional towns in Victoria’s golden triangle to provide them with a much-needed boost to the local economy, create jobs and allow small business to prosper.
Towns like Maryborough, Beaufort, Talbot, Dunolly, Wedderburn and Castlemaine are already seeing an influx in gold prospectors who continue to help support these local communities.
The Liberal Nationals are serious about decentralising Victoria, and to do that we must invest in tourism and jobs for our regional towns and cities.
Only the Liberal Nationals will get back in control of population growth and encourage jobs and tourism in regional Victoria.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Heidi Victoria:
“This untapped tourism opportunity is pure gold to these regions and our visitor economy.
A Liberal Nationals Government will change the direction of tourism marketing in Victoria, and provide regional tourism operators with better support to promote the diverse offerings that showcase Victoria as a must-see destination.
The Liberal Nationals have a strong plan to grow Victoria to create a state of cities, not a city-state, and to do this we need to bring jobs to regional cities.”
Comments attributable to Member for Ripon, Louise Staley:
“Already Goldfields tourism is important to many towns in Ripon and this campaign will allow these professional tourism operators and service providers to showcase this region to the world.
Ripon is the heart of the Goldfields, and a dedicated goldfields tourism marketing campaign will drive economic growth in our region.”
A Liberal Nationals Government will protect those who protect Victorians.
That’s why an elected Liberal Nationals Government will provide expanded mental health support for members of Victoria Police, emergency services, ambulance workers and public sector prison officers.
A Liberal Nationals Government will make it easier for our first responders to get the urgent support they need if they have been involved in traumatic events in the line of duty.
The Liberal Nationals will provide up to an extra $1 million in funding to expand the current $6 million First Responder PTSD and Psychological Injury Provisional Support Program, to include front- line prison officers.
Prison officers often work in difficult and challenging conditions, often being subjected to physical and psychological threats and intimidation from prisoners.
Daniel Andrews has overseen chaos in the prison system, from the worst prison riot in Victoria’s history at the MRC in 2015 that cost taxpayers more than $100m and left scores of prison officers with psychological injuries, to the flood of contraband and the rising violence behind bars.
Daniel Andrews has lost control of our justice system with violent riots all too frequent in our prisons and it’s placing tremendous pressure and stress on our prison corrections officers.
Since Daniel Andrews was elected crime behind bars has increased by an alarming 115%.
The Liberal Nationals will get back in control of law and order by introducing mandatory sentencing, strengthening our bail system and supporting our frontline officers.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Corrections, Ed O’Donohue:
“A Liberal Nationals Government will protect those that protect us.
Crime behind bars is up an alarming 115% since December 2014.
Daniel Andrews has lost control of our corrections system. Only the Liberal Nationals have a clear plan to get back in control of the Victorian prison system and restore order.”
Comments attributable to Liberal Member for Ripon, Louise Staley:
“Langi Kal Kal Prison provides essential jobs for the region and we must take care of our prison officers who are faced with challenging conditions every day.
Prison officers in Ripon electorate at Hopkins and Langi Kal Kal Prisons play an important role in community safety and deserve our respect and support.”
An elected Liberal Nationals Government will address the growing issue of food insecurity in Ballarat, providing the funds for Foodbank and Ballarat Foundation to partner to establish a Foodbank Hub for the Grampians region.
Currently more than 12 per cent of people in the Ballarat community need access to emergency food relief each year, with enormous pressure on local food distribution charities. Food sent to the Grampians region has increased by 45 per cent over the last three years alone.
If elected, a Liberal Nationals Government will provide $1.5 million to build the Foodbank Hub in Ballarat.
This funding will secure delivery of stage one work, which will open the door to opportunities for food retail social enterprise, education and training to be offered locally in Ballarat and for the Grampians region.
The commitment comes as Foodbank Victoria is looking for opportunities to establish a food distribution hub in Ballarat.
Population growth is out of control and people in Ballarat and across our State are paying the price with higher costs of living, higher energy bills and housing becoming more unaffordable.
Foodbank provides critical support to vulnerable Victorians, with more than 8 million kilograms of food distributed in 2016-17 – the equivalent of putting more than 14 million meals on tables for people in need.
It’s the largest non-profit food distribution network in the state, partnering with 470 local charities to deliver healthy food to communities across Victoria. They also work with 500 primary schools across Victoria to deliver 50,000 healthy breakfasts each week for primary students who arrive at school with an empty stomach.
Only a Liberal Nationals Government will have a comprehensive plan to get back in control of the cost of living, so Victorians get back control over their household budget.
Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Decentralisation Peter Walsh
Food distribution centres are a critical support for the most vulnerable Victorians which is why the Liberal Nationals will kickstart work on establishing one in Ballarat.
The skyrocketing cost-of-living is forcing Victorians to choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table, which is why these services are so critical in our communities.
Comment attributable to Member for Ripon Louise Staley
This food distribution centre will provide improved food security for people in western Victoria.
It will help to relieve pressure on local charities, providing a space to source, store, and distribute food more efficiently to people in need in the community.
Comment attributable to Liberal candidate for Wendouree Amy Johnson
We need to make sure people who need support in our community can get it.
Skyrocketing cost of living is putting pressure on families and others. A food distribution centre for Ballarat will make sure families and local residents who need this service can get assistance close to home.
Comment attributable to Liberal candidate for Buninyong Andrew Kilmartin
With more people going hungry than ever before, food distribution centres provide critical support to those who need it most in our community.
With a rental vacancy rate of 1.1 per cent and power bills up 85 per cent since the closure of Hazelwood Power Station, sadly we’re seeing growing demand for these critical services in Ballarat.