Critical hospital funding, a step towards sustainable power in Portland and road upgrades – these are some projects MP James Purcell is predicting the May 2 state budget will fund.
The upper house MP represents the Vote 1 Jobs party and is one of the key cross-benchers expected to play a significant role in budget negotiations.
Mr Purcell listed a number of initiatives and said he was confident “several” of them would receive funding, including money that would kick-start the process needed to achieve a $112 million upgrade for Warrnambool Base Hospital’s stage two upgrade.
“I have been appointed to chair a government-appointed advisory group to further this expansion and I am confident we will secure this $7.5 million to get the project shovel ready,” he said.
Upgrading the Princes Highway between Colac the state border, including constructing 50 passing lanes, was one of the listed projects.
Mr Purcell said he had also been lobbying for further money for roads funding, $2 million to upgrade the Port Fairy Bowls Club and $500,000 to develop a Portland energy program in order to secure a sustainable power source to support the future of industry including Alcoa’s aluminium plant.
He said more needed to be done to secure the future of the plant beyond 2021.
“This budget bid is designed to explore and implement sustainable energy streams for Portland,” Mr Purcell said. “This funding would allow us to complete and implement a functional strategy to make our region sustainable.”
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell listed the Warrnambool Base Hospital redevelopment as a top priority as well, but called for the project to be fully funded to match the Coalition’s commitment.
Mrs Britnell also said Warrnambool’s Special Developmental School needed to receive funds to pay for the construction of a new school on land that had already been bought.
“A block of land has been purchased, the planning is done; now the government needs to finish the job and allocate enough money to build the new school to department specifications,” she said.
Securing significant roads funding and investment in the Warrnambool train line were also listed as priorities for Mrs Britnell.