The Labor state government will next Tuesday hand down its final budget before November’s election. Expect the government to be in a spending mood.
Premier Daniel Andrews and his team reportedly hold a winning advantage in the latest opinion polls but they are the underdog according to the latest betting odds.
The budget gives the government a golden opportunity to launch its campaign and if it gets it right, the positive publicity and vibe could carry it deep into the election race.
The government in last year’s budget announced $7.5 million to help fund the planning of Warrnambool Base Hospital’s proposed stage two redevelopment.
Expectations are high the government will follow that with the $100-plus million needed to fund the project. It is the region’s number one priority.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell is one who expects to see the cash flow our way.
This week she said “the time for talking was over” for the government on the hospital funding. Her Liberal Party has previously committed to the project.
“We know what needs to be done and how important it is - so it’s high-time that Daniel Andrews followed our lead and funded this urgent upgrade and back our fantastic doctors and nurses and provided them with the facilities they need,” she said.
But Western Victorian upper house member James Purcell, whose vote has helped the government pass legislation several times, did not mention the hospital being on his wish list this week. He is chair of the hospital redevelopment working party so either he is trying to let us down gently or lull us into a premature state of disappointment so when funding is announced, the celebrations will be even sweeter.
He says a multi-million dollar new Warrnambool library and beach protection at Port Fairy’s East Beach are top of his wish-list. The government has already funded a new Special Developmental School in Warrnambool and committed funds for train line and rolling stock upgrades.
The government is aware of calls to fund facilities on the Great Ocean Road near the 12 Apostles, the community-driven drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre proposed for Warrnambool, and a massive overhaul of Warrnambool’s Reid Oval.
Fingers crossed the government loosens the purse strings. Like a child at Christmas, we won’t get everything on the list. But let’s hope we aren’t disappointed.