Premier Daniel Andrews vowed to govern for “all” Victorians when he took office in November 2014.
But more than two-and-a-half years later, he is yet to make a public visit to Warrnambool.
A request to access Mr Andrews’ travel diary was refused by the state government this week as we sought to document his appearances across the state.
The fact is, Mr Andrews has not had a public engagement in Warrnambool, a key regional city in the state and the capital of south-west Victoria.
A staffer assured us he had visited Warrnambool while making a fleeting visit to Dundonnell for a windfarm announcement but it was not public. He has been to Portland. He has made repeated trips to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Morwell but not to Warrnambool.
The Standard requested Mr Andrews’ travel diary to assess if he was keeping his word and following one of his government’s oft-quoted slogans of governing for all Victorians.
We want Mr Andrews to visit Warrnambool for several reasons.
Our roads, despite pledges of cash, are the worst in the state. Mr Andrews needs to experience them to get a better understanding of the conditions we endure every day.
Our train service is the worst in the state. Again, belatedly, there has been an upgrade pledged, but does Mr Andrews know how bad it is? Does he know passengers are held up for hours due to train faults?
Our public hospital’s emergency department is hopelessly inadequate to cope with increasing demand and complex cases. Mr Andrews, we would love you to come and see it for yourself.
Mr Andrews and his government will argue they are governing for all Victorians. First-home building grants in regional Victoria are an example of one positive initiative.
But the promise of governing for all Victorians seems hollow when you look at Mr Andrews’ travel habits. Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, where he has frequently visited, are all in marginal electorates. It’s easy to think Labor is governing for all Victorians but only where there is political gain.
On Friday, as we prepared to document Mr Andrews’ absence from Warrnambool, his media team advised he would be coming soon. We will welcome Mr Andrews when he does arrive and we will welcome him with open arms on any return visits with solutions to the issues confronting us.