Greater Shepparton City Council will today launch a new campaign aimed at overcoming years of funding inequity.JARROD WHITTAKER March 7, 2014 5:47am
The Make Shepparton Greater campaign will lobby the Victorian Government ahead of this year’s state election to fund five priority infrastructure projects for the city.
The priority projects include the Shepparton highway bypass, a new courthouse and redevelopment of Goulburn Valley Health. The central business district revitalisation and improved passenger rail services round out the wish list.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan said the campaign’s genesis came from an analysis of Victorian Government capital budget allocations.
‘‘At budget time we don’t get anywhere near an equitable share of the budget allocations,’’ Cr Houlihan said.
‘‘We do get other allocations over the year, but the really big infrastructure projects that we cannot fund ourselves .
Essential Economics’ analysis of Victorian Government capital spending from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 budgets revealed a huge gap between Shepparton and other regional cities.
During the two-year period, City of Greater Shepparton received $42.5
In the same period, City of Greater Bendigo received $1270
Latrobe City received $260
‘‘We do know that some councils maybe with not any better planning than us get huge buckets of money at election time, which we don’t get,’’ she said.
‘‘We believe we’ve got no alternative because we don’t have a political bat to use here, not being a marginal seat.
‘‘Let’s face it, that is a fact and that’s something that has worked against us for a long time.’’
She said while the council was pleased with recent government investment — including funding to secure SPC Ardmona’s future — Shepparton was in need of more capital funding.
The state seat of Shepparton is one of the safest conservative seats in Victoria. The Nationals have the seat with a margin of more than 25 per cent, despite last year’s redistribution of electoral boundaries.
Council chief executive Gavin Cator said the community would be continually disadvantaged without increased capital funding.
‘‘The continual running down of these assets means our community will be disadvantage into the future,’’ Mr Cator said.
‘‘The premier has made it clear when we’ve discussed it with him that the council and the community need to understand what its priorities are when it comes to making investments.
‘‘While there may be other projects worthy of government investment we believe these five projects will have the most significant economic impact on Greater Shepparton.’’
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