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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Small-scale bypass option raised

Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone says $220 million Shepparton bypass more likely to be funded.

DARREN LINTON May 14, 2014 3:20am

The Shepparton bypass wasn’t included in an extra $4.6 billion announced in last night’s federal budget to be pumped into roads during the next four years.

And Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone has suggested a dual lane bypass has more chance of being funded.

The cost of the four-lane bypass of the city has ballooned to nearly $1billion and has fallen off the priority list for the Victorian Government.

Dr Stone said a two-lane bypass with an extra river crossing could be built for $220million.

‘‘We haven’t got a state priority for it at the moment and I think we must prioritise a very serviceable two-lane bypass with a second river crossing,’’ she said last night.

‘‘I’m all for doing it in stages, lets get the state focusing on that.’’

Motorists will be slugged an extra $2.2 billion at the petrol bowser and every cent of additional tax will be quarantined for road funding, which City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan said gave rise to some hope.

‘‘We’ll just keep working away at it,’’ she said.

There is $229 million in the budget for the National Highway Upgrade Program and additional funding of $200 million for the Black Spot Program and $350 million for the Roads to Recovery Program.

But the major infrastructure spending is soaked up by big ticket items such as Melbourne’s East-West link and working towards a second airport for Sydney.

The budget will also hit families, pensioners and welfare recipients as all Australians are asked to share the pain of returning the budget to a sustainable position.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Geoffrey Dobb said the chronically ill, elderly and low-income families would be hit by the introduction of the $7 fee to visit a doctor. Medications available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will also cost $5 more per prescription.

Family Tax Benefit will remain at current levels until July 2016, but from next year the part B payment will be cut off when a child turns six.

People won’t be entitled to a pension until age 70 from 2035 and the pension will rise more slowly by indexing to inflation instead of wages.

Generation X and Y Australians on the disability support pension will be required to undertake work experience or some form of employment activity.

Also, in a shake-up of unemployment benefits, people under 25 will get the lower Youth Allowance, not Newstart, and people under 30 face a six-month wait for benefits and must work for the dole.

Dr Stone said $1 in every $5 collected through higher university costs would go into scholarships, which she said would help more people get a tertiary education.

‘‘The fees aren’t the issue, the problem for us is the living away from home costs,’’ she said.

‘‘We have dropped below 30 per cent going on to tertiary education and the state average is 50 per cent.’’

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said the pain had to be shared to ease the burden for future generations.

‘‘As Australians, we must not leave our children worse off. That’s not fair. That is not our way,’’ he said.

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