PUSH: Upper House Member for Western Victoria James Purcell is working to gain funds for the Stage Two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital.
MOST ofthe $44 million in state funding for south-west roads announced last week is money the region usually receives for road maintenance,Memberfor Western Victoria James Purcell says.
Responding to criticism by south-west councils of State Roads Minister Luke Donnellan’s promotion of the moneyas aboost to the state’s road funding, Mr Purcell conceded that “recurrent funding makes up 90 per cent of the figure”.
However Mr Purcell, who helpedMr Donnellan promotethe funding, said the money was particularly useful because it had been allocated to road projects the community wanted rather than VicRoads projects.
The projects to be funded had been identified “direct from community feedback,” Mr Purcell said.
Mr Purcell said he was confident the region would get more road funding in the near future.Having Mr Donnellan visit the south-west last week had been very useful because it allowed him to see the poor state of roads in the region, he said.
More funding for the region’sroads is one of the issues on which Mr Purcell, who leads the Vote 1 Local Jobs party, hopes to use hiscrucial Upper House voteto press the Labor government for more money for the south-west.
Mr Purcell said the Labor government needed two of five cross-bench votes in the Upper House to pass its legislation and he was generally one of the votes sought.
“(Vote 1 Local Jobs is)willing to help with legislation as long as they are willing to help western Victoria,” he said.
Mr Purcell said the state government sought his support to increase royaltieson brown coal and to increase stamp duties on transfers of foreign-owned land.
He said those tax increases would secure another $67 million for the state government.
Apart from more funding for roads,one of Mr Purcell’s next goals is to gain fundsfor the Stage Two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital.
Mr Purcell met last week with state treasurer Tim Pallas to seek fundingfor the $112 million development that will create a new emergency department and operating theatres at the hospital.
He said he hoped to get funding innext year’sstate budget for Stage Two’sdesign and tendering components with further funding forthe construction phasesto be allocated in budgets after 2017.
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