On Tuesday, May 2 Daniel Andrews Labor Government will hand down its budget. We’d expect that, flush with cash from leasing the Port of Melbourne, it should include some of the outstanding projects in Benambra that have been overlooked in recent years.

TRAINS

WISH: New purpose built, long haul train sets that provide a fast, safe and reliable service, with both a buffet and Wi-Fi.

Comments attributable to Mr Tilley

I think we can all agree that the existing V/Line service is under-performing.

We know that the current N class engines are limited to a top speed of 115kmh, the engines simply don’t go any faster and the trains themselves are well past their use by date. The promised new train set, announced in last year’s budget, is nothing more than Glad-Wrapped carriages cannibalised from the pre-existing trains that effectively reduces the capacity of each service by 80 passengers.

There are plenty of examples of trains that cover similar distances around the world, efficiently and seemingly without the dramas our commuters have faced in recent years.

But it has to be said that many of these services are well patronised with full fare customers and North East train travellers can’t realistically expect new trains without also having a willingness to pay for that service.  

 

ROADS

WISH: On the road front I would hope that interchanges at Melrose Drive and the Hume Freeway, along with McKoy Street and Hume intersection are on the priority list or at least some action is promised in the next financial year.

Comments attributable to Mr Tilley

It has been two years since an 80kmh limit was imposed on the Hume Freeway, near McKoy Street, as VicRoads explored its options – we need a solution to this situation, one that recognises the existing dangers at that intersection and allows traffic to continue on its journey at 110kmh.

I’m also acutely aware that some of the shires within the electorate, namely Towong, Indigo and Alpine, have vast road networks and a small rate base to deal with maintenance let alone upgrades. When we were in government we provided a million dollars a year for the country roads and bridges program and I think all councils would tell you that money was vital to their ability to meet those demands and financial viability.

 

budget-papers

EDUCATION

WISH: Funding of multi-million dollar projects at Beechworth and Rutherglen. Acknowledgement, if not funding, of the refurbishment at Wodonga’s Huon Middle Years campus and Corryong College.

Comments attributable to Mr Tilley

The Labor Government has already funded planning at Beechworth and Rutherglen – that should be followed up in this budget with the money to make those improvements.

I would also hope there is money for Corryong College and Wodonga’s Huon Middle Years campus. Both schools were on a priority list that we developed when in government and I understand is the basis for the education department’s decision to this day.

 

HEALTH

WISH: $250,000 for Indigo North Health’s to update its kitchen. I’m also hopeful that Albury Wodonga Health will be successful in its quest for $1.1M for Nolan House.

Comments attributable to Mr Tilley

Indigo North Health desperately needs money to update its antiquated kitchen at the Rutherglen campus. They have missed out on successive rounds of grant funding despite warnings that the kitchen is almost certain to fail a food safety audit. The kitchen, which produces 55,000 meals a year, has one oven and one cook-top, two upright freezers and no air conditioning other than a pedestal fan.

I understand Albury Wodonga Health has also asked for $1.1 million to upgrade Nolan House and that would in part help reduce the burden on existing mental health services.

 

GENERAL

WISH: Final acknowledgement for the relocation of the Wodonga Fire Station and more money to deal with the increasing issue around invasive species that includes weeds, wild dogs and increasingly deer.

 

 

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