Claims Melbourne to Geelong fast rail a 'fantasy'
The $2 billion Melbourne to Geelong fast rail project included in Tuesday's federal budget is an election eve "fantasy" with no money available for two years, the Victorian government claims.
Treasurer Tim Pallas says no funds will flow for two years, despite Victorians being told building will begin in 18 months.
The investment is seen as sure to lead to faster travel times between Warrnambool and Melbourne.
But, only $50 million has been put aside in forward estimates for the project, which is in the Geelong region, where the Liberals hold ultra marginal seat Corangamite.
Overall, Tuesday's budget allocates $6.2 billion for new infrastructure projects in Victoria.
It also includes $1.1 billion for suburban roads upgrades, $700 million to duplicate rail tracks from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds.
But Mr Pallas says Victoria was denied its fair share of infrastructure funds, with a 17.7 per cent share over the next five years, despite having more than 26 per cent of the population.
He accused the Morrison government of continuing to hold onto $3 billion, originally earmarked for the dumped East West Link project.
Call to overhaul abuse redress scheme
The scheme set up to help people sexually abused as children in Australian institutions must be overhauled to ensure justice for survivors, a federal parliamentary committee says.
The committee wants institutions penalised, as well as named and shamed, if they fail to sign up to the $3.8 billion national redress scheme and the maximum compensation payment to survivors increased.
"The report has found that, as it currently operates, the redress scheme is at serious risk of not delivering on its objective of providing justice to survivors," it said.
The joint select committee, survivors and victims' advocates want the scheme overhauled so it reflects all of the recommendations of the child abuse royal commission.
The substantive legislative and policy changes would require the support of the federal, state and territory governments.
"The committee has concluded that without legislative change the scheme may never be properly accepted by survivors as a fair scheme and a real alternative to litigation."
In its report released late Tuesday night, the committee said more needed to be done to pressure non-participating institutions to join the scheme.
Committee chair Senator Derryn Hinch says the government used the budget to rush the report through the upper house.
"They've jammed this through for the Senate," he told ABC.
Man United lose in EPL
Manchester United's top-four hopes have suffered a blow with a 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers while Fulham relegation from the Premier League was made official by a 4-1 thumping at Watford.
Chris Smalling's 77th-minute own goal gave Wolves victory over 10-man United, who had Ashley Young sent off on 57 minutes at Molineaux.
The visitors started well but wasted a number of chances either side of Scott McTominay's superb first goal for the club on 13 minutes, allowing Diogo Jota to level on 25 minutes.
The defeat left United fifth in the table on goal difference behind Tottenham Hotspur, who have a game in hand, while Wolves are seventh.
Election shapes up as tax cut trust battle
Millions of Australians are in line for a tax cut regardless of what political party is leading the nation after the upcoming federal election.
But Scott Morrison's government is hoping voters will trust them to deliver on the income tax relief, promised in Tuesday's budget, over Labor leader Bill Shorten.
The government has promised to more than double a tax offset for Australians earning up to $126,000, with a single-income family expected to keep an extra $1000 from tax time this year.
"We want to give people more money in their pocket with tax cuts, which we do at every opportunity," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the ABC News Breakfast on Wednesday.
He also wants to lower the 32.5 per cent tax rate to 30 per cent from mid-2024.
Phillips unsure about AFLW playing future
Erin Phillips stands at the top of one mountain, knowing she is at the bottom of another.
Two days after co-captaining Adelaide to the AFLW premiership, she capped her outstanding season by winning the league's best and fairest award and being named skipper of the All-Australian team.
Phillips had the best and fairest award secured with two of the seven rounds of voting still to be counted and she polled 19 of a possible 21.
But her heavy limp at Tuesday's awards night function is Phillips' new reality.
The 33-year-old will undergo a left knee reconstruction after her devastating grand final injury.
After talking pre-game about wanting to be part of a Crows premiership dynasty that would rival dad Greg and brother-in-law Shaun Burgoyne, Phillips is now unsure about her playing future.
"Right now, I wouldn't make any decisions because I know it's all emotional," she said.
"I'm at the bottom of a big mountain to climb with this rehab.
"There's not much need right now to say yes or no, just see how this rehab goes."
Another factor is that Phillips' wife Tracy is 22 weeks pregnant with their third child.
Phillips also underwent a knee reconstruction on her right knee 12 years ago and knows grimly what lies ahead.
NBA fines three Warriors for ripping refs
Three of the Golden State Warriors' biggest names have been slugged $US75,000 ($A105,000) in fines for criticising NBA officials.
Forward Draymond Green was hit with a $US35,000 penalty for making statements on social media which "impugned the integrity of NBA officiating," according to NBA executive vice president Kiki VanDeWeghe.
Guard Stephen Curry was fined $US25,000 for his actions and public statements "impugning the integrity of NBA officiating" and forward Kevin Durant $US 15,000 for public criticism of the officiating.
The sanctions follow the Warriors' 131-130 overtime loss to the Minnesota on Friday night.
Down by three with 5.5 seconds left, Golden State inbounded the ball in their offensive end to Durant, who turned and fired a 3-pointer while being fouled.
The shot went in, which appeared to put the Warriors a free throw from taking an improbable lead before young referee Marat Kogut waved off the hoop, saying the foul occurred before the shot, which returned possession to the Warriors out of bounds.
"It's a four-point play," Durant said afterward.
NBA playoffs contenders record wins
Kyrie Irving had 25 points and Al Horford a triple-double as the Boston Celtics spoiled Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade's final NBA game at the TD Garden, 110-105.
Horford finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Celtics (46-32), who are trying to beat out the Indiana Pacers for the No.4 seed in the eastern conference standings, while Australian centre Aron Baynes started and had four points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 30 points as Wade added with 17 points and seven assists in his final regular-season game in Boston.
Despite their loss, Miami (38-39) maintained their half-game lead over Orlando for the final play-off spot in the east after the Magic's 121-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Danny Green scored a season-high 29 points to Toronto, who can finish no lower than second in the east.
Australian Thon Maker had 14 points and six assists in the absence of All-Star Blake Griffin but the Detroit Pistons came up short against Indiana, 111-102.
Thaddeus Young scored 19 points and Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Australia facing small Masters contingent
Australia's contingent for next week's Masters will be limited to just four unless Aaron Baddeley or one of his five countrymen can secure the last ticket to Augusta National by winning the Valero Texas Open.
With 17 players at the US PGA Tour event carrying exemptions, in-form Baddeley is among 127 hopefuls facing a last-chance saloon with the San Antonio tournament offering its winner the last spot at Augusta.
As it stands, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott are the only Australians teeing off at the opening major of the year - just as they were 12 months ago.
But Baddeley hopes to pull a rabbit out of the hat at TPC San Antonio, with the event replacing the Houston Open as the Masters precursor.
"That would be gold," Baddeley told AAP.
Mourinho reopens war of words with Pogba
Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has claims he risked the sack at Old Trafford if he mishandled star midfielder Paul Pogba.
In a thinly-veiled swipe at a player he labelled "His Excellency" the Portuguese suggested he would have been "sent on vacation" had he come down hard on the France midfielder.
Mourinho, speaking at a coaching seminar in Portugal, recalled a story which he felt epitomised his relationship with Pogba - whom he did not identify by name.
The outspoken ex-Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan boss said after a match at Burnley in September a player left Turf Moor in his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce instead of travelling back to Manchester on the team bus.
Wigan's ex-Souths prop fails doping test
Super League side Wigan have announced that former South Sydney prop Gabriel Hamlin has been charged with a UK anti-doping violation and provisionally suspended by the Rugby Football League.
The Warriors say Hamlin, who is in the second of a two-year contract with the Super League champions, is currently on a flight back to Australia.
The 22-year-old joined Wigan from the Rabbitohs last year after failing to make an appearance in the NRL.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said in a statement: "Wigan Warriors will look to support Gabriel throughout this process until its conclusion and thereafter.
"Gabriel has requested to be closer to his family during this difficult time and we fully support this request."
UK PM May to ask for further Brexit delay
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she would ask the European Union for a further delay to Brexit beyond April 12 to give her time to sit down with the opposition Labour Party in a bid to break the impasse over Britain's departure.
Nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in a shock referendum result, British politics is in crisis and it is unclear how, when or if it will ever leave the European club it first joined in 1973.
In a hastily arranged statement from her Downing Street office after spending more then seven hours chairing crisis cabinet meetings on how to plot a way out of the Brexit maze, May said she was seeking a further extension to Brexit.
The true tale of two Victorias: MP
Here's the true tale of two Victorias, according to South West Coast MP Roma Britnell.
"While Daniel Andrews pours billions of dollars into metropolitan roads, country Victorians are dealing with substandard, dangerous local roads and highways, full of potholes, cracked and warped surfaces," she said.
"The first thing Daniel Andrews did after becoming Premier was to scrap the country roads and bridges program, which gave councils $160 million to prioritise and fix their local road networks. He then spent that money upgrading bridges in his own suburban electorate. He also cut road maintenance funding."
Mrs Britnell said the premier was presiding over a shambolic mess of a road maintenance system, which waits until roads were at their worst before giving them any attention, rather than proactively and regularly maintaining them, which costs less and has significantly better long-term results.
"I have regional transport businesses telling me their vehicle repair and maintenance bills are going through the roof because of the shocking state of our roads. I have even had reports of solid bluestone being damaged in transit because the roads are so rough," she said.
"Under Daniel Andrews, the cost of moving freight by road in country Victoria is on the rise," she said.
Morrison spruiks budget tax relief for all
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has started the sales job of his pre-election budget with attacks on the Labor opposition's policies, including tax cuts.
The Morrison government is set to get parliament's support for a $284 million package to help 3.9 million Australians with power bills, as the last major act before an election.
But the rest of Tuesday's federal budget - including income tax cuts - will have to wait until after the May poll.
With Wednesday being the last day the lower house and Senate are expected to sit before the election, the government will get Labor's support to wave through payments of $75 for singles and $125 for couples for social security recipients to cover rising electricity costs.
However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says there's no time to progress $158 billion in tax relief for low and middle-income earners and instead he will seek a mandate from Australians at the polls.
This pits his first budget against Labor's promise if elected, to roll out a much bigger tax cut package.
Both sides are promising tax relief, but Mr Morrison said the government's plan - outlined in Tuesday's budget - was fairer for every taxpayer.
Traffic alert - Princes Highway at Yambuk lane closure
A lane closure will be in place from tonight on the Princes Highway at Yambuk, to allow for important technical assessments to be completed on the bridge at Shaw River.
The Warrnambool-bound lane of the highway will be closed, with traffic sharing the Portland-bound lane.
Portable traffic lights will control traffic flow and speed will be set at 40km/h.
For the latest traffic information around the state visit traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au or download the VicTraffic app via your app store.
Cloudy across the south-west
Today will be cloudy across the south-west with top temperatures in the high teens.
There's a very high (90%) chance of light rain developing later this morning then clearing in the late afternoon and evening.
Light winds becoming south-easterly 20 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day then becoming light in the late evening.
Warrnambool is expecting a maximum temperature of 17 degrees, Hamilton 19, Ararat 22, Casterton 19, Mortlake 19, Heywood 17, Portland 17, Port Fairy 17, Terang 17 and Camperdown 16.
A cold front will clip southern Victoria Wednesday afternoon then a high pressure system will rapidly cross the Southern Ocean to be located just west of Tasmania by Wednesday night.
The high will move over the southern Tasman Sea on Thursday. An intense low pressure system is expected to cross the Southern Ocean on Friday with an associated cold front reaching western Victoria late in the day, then crossing the remainder of the state early Saturday.
Warrnambool is expecting 22 degrees on Thursday, 27 on Friday, 17 on Saturday, 19 on Sunday and 18 on Monday.
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