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Candidates commend court cash commitment

The Labor and Nationals candidates for the state seat of Shepparton have welcomed plans to redevelop Shepparton courthouse.

JARROD WHITTAKER May 8, 2014 5:32am

Long overdue: The Victorian budget included $73 million to redevelop Shepparton courthouse.


 

Both candidates have firsthand experience working in Shepparton’s ageing court complex.

Before joining present State Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell’s staff, the Nationals’ Greg Barr was a regular inside the courthouse as a Victoria Police detective.

 

His Labor counterpart Rod Higgins is a regular sight in the court in his capacity as a lawyer.

Last week, the Victorian Government announced $73million to completely redevelop the court, with the funding included in the 2014-15 state budget.

‘‘Given my policing background I’ve spent many, many hours and days at the Shepparton court complex and I know the poor state it was in,’’ Mr Barr said.

‘‘I think it was a great outcome not just for Shepparton, but also for justice services across the whole Goulburn Valley.’’

Mr Higgins echoed his sentiments.

‘‘The court building has been very hard to work in for the length of time I’ve been here — 14 years now,’’ he said.

Mr Higgins said he hoped the 100 jobs expected to be created during the construction of the new court stayed in Shepparton.

The two men disagreed about a lack of funding in the budget to improve Shepparton rail services.

Mr Barr said while there was no money for trains, the government was delivering for Shepparton one project at a time.

‘‘We can obviously tick off the courthouse, we can tick off saving SPC, we can tick off the roundabout at Benalla Rd and the pipeline at Cosgrove,’’ he said.

‘‘The trains will be another step and I hope in time that will be addressed as well.’’

In contrast, Mr Higgins said it was disappointing.

‘‘It’s not good enough, because service has been appalling for years,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve seen upgrades to all other (train) services in regional Victoria and metropolitan Victoria and nothing for Shepparton.’’

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