I rise to congratulate the member for South-West Coast on his elevation to the office of Premier and to call on him not to forget the communities of south-west Victoria, which are doing it tough. Over the last two years, while he has sat around the cabinet table, businesses have closed in the south-west, there have been massive job losses and the Barwon-south western region has had the highest level of unemployment rates. Communities feel abandoned by this government. Portland, which I mentioned in my adjournment matter last night, definitely feels that it has been abandoned since 2010. Plans and action for sustainable local economies, not just tacked-on grants, are critical in regional Victoria.
South-west Victoria wants the new Premier to deliver, not continue to play blame games with other levels of government, and nor do we want the new Premier to claim projects such as Labor’s $90 million Warrnambool hospital initiative as his, his party’s or his government’s. We also need him to deliver on the helipad for Portland, road upgrades and of course Peter’s Project, for which a commitment was made prior to the last election but which has only seen a paper entry of $5 million. The government has not delivered, and it is absolutely critical for the south-west that people can be treated for cancer in the area rather than having to travel to Geelong every day or travel every week and be separated from their families.
Again, I congratulate the member for South-West Coast, but he has lots of work to do.