Budget set to hit hard

The fall-out from Tony Abbott's first Budget will hit Bendigo and central Victoria hard, Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says.

"It appears that everyone is on Tony Abbott's hit list. It's not a good way to govern the country.

"Despite the government’s fear campaign on debt and deficit, there’s still a lot of money in this Budget and I want to ensure Bendigo gets its fair share. It’s about priorities.

"I used the last week of Parliament before Budget week to lobby for funding for the Bendigo electorate and I am hoping that these projects will be funded in Tuesday night’s Budget.

Some of these projects included:
- $45 million for the Ravenswood intersection upgrade, which has major safety implications for central Victoria. The government needs to sign off on it before another accident occurs.
- $1.2 billion for the Department of Defence to finalise contracts with Thales Australia for the production of the Hawkei vehicle at Thales’ Bendigo plant. Labor put it in the forward estimates in the Budget, so I will be looking to see it locked in.
- $5.2 million for the Bendigo Tennis Centre redevelopment. I am keen to see the Liberal Government restore the funding they cut in their first days in office.

Ms Chesters said Gonski school reform funding was also top of the agenda.

“There is growing concern within the community that schools’ funding will be cut,” she said.

“This is despite the government declaring it would honour the Gonski reform plan before it was elected.

“I will be advocating strongly to ensure that our local schools receive increased funding to implement the much-needed Gonski reforms.”

Ms Chesters said she hoped vital programs such as Youth Connections and Bendigo Family and Financial Services would receive funding.

“It’s a large budget and I want to ensure Bendigo gets its fair share,” she said.