Western suburbs MPs reveal their long wishlist for budget funds

Maribyrnong Weekly: Western suburbs MPs reveal their long wishlist for budget funds. Benjamin Millar. 30 April 2014

New funding for health, education and public transport tops the wishlist for western suburbs MPs ahead of the release of the state government’s 2014 budget.

The budget, released next Tuesday, will come under heavy scrutiny as the final spending splash before November’s election.

Upper house western suburbs Liberal MP Andrew Elsbury remained tight-lipped on specific projects but said he had pushed for the government to spend more in the west.

“I have a very extensive list from health, education, transport and public transport right across the west,” he said.

Mr Elsbury welcomed federal funding for the removal of the deadly St Albans railway crossing and the recent vow to build an airport rail link.

Williamstown MP Wade Noonan said his budget priorities were TAFE funding, a boost to hospitals and a solution to the truck traffic problem.

“Victoria University’s recent annual report revealed just how devastating the Napthine government’s cuts have been to TAFE with more than 12,000 fewer enrolments and hundreds of job losses compared to two years ago,” he said.

“The inner-west is crying out for a solution on trucks and this will be the last opportunity for Denis Napthine to reveal whether he is prepared to back a real solution to fix the problem.”

Footscray MP Marsha Thomson said she would like to see more spending on schools, a rebuilding of Footscray’s Western Hospital and priority given to the Metro rail tunnel over the east-west link.

“I also want to see more public housing and a more comprehensive strategy for dealing with domestic violence and support programs as well as housing for victims.”

Greens MP Colleen Hartland said her priorities included bike safety, public transport and trucks.

She would like to see the West Gate truck ramps bypass built, Footscray’s Shepherd Bridge made safe for cyclists, completion of the Federation Bike Trail, a Footscray-to-Docklands tram service and partial duplication of the Altona Loop to “fix the terrible train service”.

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