WHEN is Labor going to step up and make a few genuine election pledges for South West Coast?
The Coalition has pledged about $120 million towards infrastructure in the electorate, the centrepiece being the $100 million package for new operating theatres and associated facilities at Warrnambool Base Hospital.
Labor has made only one south-west specific pledge so far — $5 million for Warrnambool Special Development School.
Based on dollar figures for the south-west, there is no contest. But there should be.
Leading ALP figure Martin Pakula claimed Denis Napthine was protecting his own backyard, his party and the Coalition spending like drunken sailors in Geelong and Ballarat.
“I think Denis Napthine needs to explain the extraordinary largesse being shovelled into the seat of South West Coast,” Mr Pakula told ABC radio.
Strangely enough, ALP candidate Roy Reekie didn’t try to distance himself from these comments.
He claimed Dr Napthine’s commitments amounted to “panic buying of votes” in his electorate.
Seriously? Election commitments are the only way the voter can properly hold their MP to account. If they make a commitment and break it, then they are well within their right to vote them out at the next election.
Voters are also becoming tired of watching marginal electorates get the big dollars as parties vie for attention.
This time, the Coalition has put its money where its mouth is and opened its wallet to this region, but the ALP is still complaining.
The fact that Labor has made few south-west specific pledges during this campaign for South West Coast shows it doesn’t really care whether it wins or loses here.
It was high time the Coalition made some decent pledges in this region and it follows that Labor needs to show some initiative and also start making some pre-election pledges here.
Daniel Andrews and Roy Reekie: it’s not too late to open up the chequebook.