Bendigo's embattled legal fraternity received no good news in today's Victorian State Budget.
The only new court building this year will be a new children's court facility at Broadmeadows' Magistrates' Court, leaving Bendigo Magistrate's Court in its current dilapidated state for another year.
In education, Golden Square Primary receives $5 million for its classroom and administration upgrade.
And as part of a boost to vulnerable children services, the Loddon-Mallee region will share (with the Grampians and Gippsland) in a $2.2 million allocation for early childhood development workers.
Castlemaine was the big winner locally, with $10 million to upgrade the hospital and $7 million for the modernisation of Castlemaine Secondary College.
The Housing Industry Association has also condemned the State Government’s decision to cut the highly successful State Government First Home Owners Bonus.
The bonus, which comes on top of the Federal First Home Owners Grant, means that metropolitan home buyers have been eligible for up to $20,000 and in Regional Victoria up to $26,500.
The HIA called cutting the Bonus a short-sighted decision. .
Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said the budget invested more than $30 million in major projects in Bendigo and Castlemaine.
“It is a testament to the Coalition Government’s regional resolve that we have been able to deliver on these vital projects – even though Victoria is facing enormous financial challenges from outside forces,” he said.
“Despite having billions of dollars ripped out of our economy by the Federal Government’s GST changes, the world economic slowdown and the inherited bungling from the previous Labor Government, our local communities are still being backed totally.”
Mr Drum praised Nationals Bendigo West candidate Steven Oliver.
“Steven pushed very hard for the Castlemaine Hospital and Secondary College, and the Budget commitments are due – in no small part – to him," he said.
“This is on top of funding commitments from Steven which have already been delivered, such as the 24-hour ambulance service, and the upgrade of the QEO football and netball facilities.”
Mr Drum said the Golden Square Primary School had been pushing hard to complete the merger first agreed two by the Laurel Street and Maple Street schools in 2009, but which had remained unfunded by the previous government.
“I was particularly delighted to see the funding for Bendigo’s Multi-Disciplinary Centre against sexual assault in this year’s state budget," he said.
“It allows various state agencies and regional organisations to unite to provide a better co-ordinated care for sexual assault victims and their families.
“Bendigo shares in a broad push by the Liberal/Nationals Government to come up with better approaches to deal with the deep-seated problems of sexual assault,” he said.
Mr Drum said other budget items which would be of "enormous importance" to our region included a major new investment in V/Line carriages for regional Victoria.