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2002 Victorian State Election

Liberal Party Policy Speech: Robert doyle

November 17, 2002

The Leader of the Victorian Liberal Opposition, Robert Doyle, has delivered his party's policy speech for the November 30 election, promising more than $1 billion for elective surgery and a new 300-bed hospital in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs. Doyle said waiting lists would be the "highest priority" of a Liberal government. Attacking union dominance, and claiming Victoria was "drifting", Doyle promised tougher criminal sentencing.


This is the text of the Policy Speech delivered for the Liberal Party by the Victorian Leader of the Opposition, Robert Doyle.

Robert Doyle, Victorian Leader of the Opposition PETER COSTELLO, FEDERAL DEPUTY LEADER AND TREASURER.

IAN CARSON, PRESIDENT OF THE VICTORIAN DIVISION.

MY PARLIAMENTARY COLLEAGUES, BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL.

MY FELLOW VICTORIANS.

LEADING THE STATE PARLIAMENTARY LIBERAL PARTY IS AN HONOUR AND A PRIVILEGE.

IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY I EMBRACE WITH PASSION AND ENERGY.

I PLEDGE TO ALL VICTORIANS THAT I'LL CONTINUE TO WORK MY HARDEST EACH DAY ON THEIR BEHALF.

TO
DICK HAMER

LINDSAY THOMPSON

JEFF KENNETT; AND

ALAN BROWN

…ALL OF WHOM ARE HERE TODAY

WE OWE TO YOU AND ALL PREDECESSORS AN ENORMOUS DEBT OF GRATITUDE FOR THE CONTRIBUTION YOU HAVE MADE TO VICTORIA.

NOW WE LOOK AHEAD.

AS LIBERALS, WE ARE OPTIMISTS ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL STATE.

VICTORIANS ARE COMMONSENSE PEOPLE…

HARD WORKING…

TALENTED AND ENTERPRISING.

PROUD OF OUR STATE.

VICTORIANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPECT THEIR GOVERNMENT TO HAVE A CLEAR VISION ABOUT WHERE OUR STATE IS HEADING.

VICTORIANS HAVE A RIGHT TO DEMAND THEIR GOVERNMENT MANAGE THE STATE'S FINANCES CAREFULLY.

VICTORIANS HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT REAL LEADERSHIP…

LEADERSHIP THAT TURNS IDEAS INTO ACTION…

LEADERSHIP THAT WILL PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

THEY WILL NEVER GET IT FROM LABOR.

FOR THREE YEARS WE'VE HAD A "DO NOTHING" GOVERNMENT.

NOW THEY WANT TO DO NOTHING FOR ANOTHER TERM.

THIS IS THE SAME LABOR PARTY THAT TOOK VICTORIA TO THE BRINK OF FINANCIAL RUIN.

STEVE BRACKS WAS AN ECONOMIC ADVISER TO CAIN AND KIRNER.

JOHN THWAITES WAS ALSO THERE - AS A KEY ADVISER.

PETER BACHELOR WAS THERE - RUNNING THE LABOR PARTY.

THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED….

EVER AGAIN.

NEVER AGAIN SHOULD VICTORIANS FACE THE PROSPECT OF THEIR STATE

IN CRISIS WITH MASSIVE DEBT;

WITH A BUDGET IN DEFICIT; AND

HAVING BUSINESS AND INVESTMENT CONFIDENCE SHATTERED.

THIS GOVERNMENT INHERITED A HUGE BUDGET SURPLUS THREE YEARS AGO.

THEY'VE NOW ALL BUT SPENT IT.

THEY'RE SERIAL SPENDERS.

OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS VICTORIA'S INCOME HAS GONE UP BY 20 PERCENT.

BUT LABOR'S SPENDING HAS INCREASED BY 30 PERCENT.

LAST FRIDAY'S TREASURY FIGURES CONFIRMED OUR FEARS THAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS TAKING VICTORIA INTO VERY DANGEROUS WATERS.

EVEN SINCE MAY THIS YEAR LABOR HAS BLOWN ITS SPENDING PROJECTIONS BY 37 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS A WEEK.

YOU CAN'T SPEND MORE THAN YOU EARN.

YOU CAN'T RUN A BUSINESS, A HOUSEHOLD, OR THE STATE LIKE THAT.

THAT'S NO WAY TO PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT CANNOT MAKE A DECISION.

INSTEAD OF SHOWING ACTIVE LEADERSHIP BY MAKING DECISIONS, LABOR HOLDS ENQUIRIES, SETS UP COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS AND HAS REVIEWS…

OVER 800 OF THEM.

THAT'S ONE ENQUIRY, COMMITTEE, COMMISSION OR REVIEW FOR EVERY WORKING DAY THAT LABOR HAS BEEN IN OFFICE.

THEY SPENT 30,000 DOLLARS FOR A CONSULTANT TO REVIEW THE PREMIER'S OFFICE AND RECOMMEND THAT STEVE BRACKS KEEP A NOTE BOOK AND PEN ON HIS DESK TO TAKE PHONE MESSAGES.

IT TOOK 12 MONTHS TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE DEVASTATING IMPACT THE DROUGHT HAS BEEN HAVING ON OUR COUNTRY COMMUNITIES.

AND HERE'S ANOTHER ONE…MUCH MORE SERIOUS…

AND IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT HOW THIS GOVERNMENT OPERATES - OR DOESN'T OPERATE.

WE CREATED THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY ADULT RETRIEVAL SERVICE - CALLED MEARS - IN 1993.

MEARS TRANSFERS PEOPLE IN A CRITICAL CONDITION TO SPECIALIST HOSPITALS LIKE THE ALFRED OR THE ROYAL MELBOURNE.

IT'S AN IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE SERVICE.

THE LABOR GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONED A REVIEW OF FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS FOR MEARS.

IT RECEIVED A REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATIONS 18 MONTHS AGO.

AND FOR 18 MONTHS LABOR HAS DONE NOTHING.

NOW THEY'RE SAYING THEY WILL HAVE ANOTHER COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE REVIEW THAT COMMENCED TWO YEARS AGO.

AND THE NEW ONE WON'T BE REPORTING BACK UNTIL JUNE NEXT YEAR.

THAT'S NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

VICTORIANS WHO DEPEND ON EMERGENCY MEDICAL RETRIEVAL SHOULDN'T HAVE TO WAIT ANY LONGER FOR A DECISION.

I WILL MAKE SURE THAT MEARS GETS THE FUNDING IT NEEDS IMMEDIATELY.

…NO MORE DELAYS…

…NO MORE REVIEWS.

VICTORIAN WORKING FAMILIES DESERVE REAL LEADERSHIP - NOT DRIFT AND INDECISION.

THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT HAS SURRENDERED TO THE UNION BOSSES AT TRADES HALL WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT.

IT REJECTS 90 MILLION DOLLARS OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THE MCG REDEVELOPMENT AND THEN PAYS OUT 77 MILLION DOLLARS TO KEEP THE WORK SITE AT OUR MCG A CLOSED SHOP.

THIS IS A PROTECTION RACKET PURE AND SIMPLE.

THAT'S NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

AFTER THREE YEARS, LABOR HAS

NO PLANS…

NO IDEAS; AND

NO PRIORITIES…


TO DEAL WITH THE REAL WORLD ISSUES THAT MATTER TO VICTORIANS.

AND IF YOU NEED ANY FURTHER PROOF THAT THIS IS A "DO NOTHING" GOVERNMENT…

LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE SCORESBY FREEWAY PROJECT.

IT IS A CRITICAL PROJECT.

IT WOULD BENEFIT THOUSANDS OF WORKING FAMILIES IN MELBOURNE'S EAST AND SOUTH EASTERN SUBURBS.

IT WOULD CUT TRAVEL TIMES AND REDUCE COSTS FOR VICTORIAN BUSINESSES.

LABOR'S INCOMPETENT MANAGEMENT OF THIS PROJECT HAS ALREADY COST US 460 MILLION DOLLARS.

AND LABOR STILL HASN'T STARTED WORK ON IT.

TO DELAY ANY LONGER, IS AN OPPORTUNITY LOST.

WE'LL GET THE SCORESBY FREEWAY STARTED AND COMPLETED.

THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS HAVE GIVEN ME THE SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK DIRECTLY WITH VICTORIANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE ABOUT OUR STATE AND WHERE IT'S GOING.

TALKING TO PARENTS OF SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN; TO FARMERS; TO SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE; TO ELDERLY VICTORIANS; TO YOUNG VICTORIANS HAS CONFIRMED MY VIEW THAT, UNDER THIS GOVERNMENT, VICTORIA HAS BEEN DRIFTING.

AND IN THESE DAYS OF HEIGHTENED UNCERTAINTY WE JUST CANNOT AFFORD THE WASTE OF A DRIFTING AND AIMLESS GOVERNMENT.

WE NEED REAL LEADERSHIP FOR VICTORIA.

VICTORIANS ARE STILL WORRIED ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL SAFETY AND SECURITY.

WE WANT OUR HOMES TO BE HOMES…NOT HIGH SECURITY FORTRESSES.

WE WANT OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND SUBURBS TO BE SECURE ENVIRONMENTS …

NOT POTENTIAL LOCATIONS FOR LABOR SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS LIKE HEROIN INJECTING ROOMS OR TOLERANCE ZONES FOR STREET PROSTITUTES.

VICTORIANS NEED

A GOVERNMENT THAT REFLECTS THE VALUES AND ASPIRATIONS OF ITS CITIZENS.

A GOVERNMENT THAT UNDERSTANDS THE NEEDS AND PRESSURES FACING WORKING FAMILIES.

A GOVERNMENT THAT HAS PRACTICAL ANSWERS TO THE PROBLEMS IN OUR HEALTH SYSTEM.

A GOVERNMENT THAT PUTS THE EDUCATION OF VICTORIAN CHILDREN AHEAD OF THE INDUSTRIAL DEMANDS OF THE TEACHER UNION LEADERS.

A GOVERNMENT THAT IS COMMITTED TO PROTECTING OUR PRECIOUS ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL HERITAGE.

A GOVERNMENT THAT DOES MORE THAN PROMISE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS.

WE NEED A GOVERNMENT THAT DELIVERS PROJECTS ON BUDGET…ON TIME.

LABOR TALKS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS…LIBERALS DELIVER THEM.

WE NEED

A GOVERNMENT THAT RECOGNISES THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COUNTRY VICTORIA TO THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FABRIC OF OUR STATE.

WE NEED

A GOVERNMENT THAT WILL DO THINGS

…NOT "REVIEW THINGS".

THESE ARE THE FOUNDATIONS OF GOOD GOVERNMENT.

THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES THAT WILL DRIVE A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT.

AND I GIVE THIS ASSURANCE…

UNLIKE STEVE BRACKS

THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD WILL NEVER SEEK TO INTRODUCE HEROIN INJECTING ROOMS IN VICTORIA.

THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD WILL NEVER TRY TO CREATE TOLERANCE ZONES IN OUR SUBURBS FOR STREET PROSTITUTES.

THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD WILL NEVER IMPLEMENT LABOR'S PLANS TO ALLOW NEW HIGH RISE AND HIGH DENSITY HOUSING IN ESTABLISHED SUBURBS.

THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD WILL NOT WASTE TAXPAYERS' MONEY ON BLATANT POLITICAL ADVERTISING.

THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD WILL NOT MISUSE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE LIKE ROAD SAFETY AS A COVER FOR REVENUE RAISING.

WHAT WE WILL BE DOING IS PROTECTING VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

WE'LL HAVE FOUR GOALS:

FIRST

TO DELIVER A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR WORKING FAMILIES;

SECOND

TO ENSURE OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES ARE SAFE AND SECURE;
THIRD

PROVIDE A WORLD-CLASS HEALTH SYSTEM; AND

FOURTH

RAISE EDUCATION STANDARDS AND IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL OPPORUNITIES FOR OUR CHILDREN.

I WANT A VICTORIA IN WHICH WORKING FAMILIES ARE GIVEN PRACTICAL HELP TO BETTER THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE.

WORKING FAMILIES NEED PRACTICAL PLANS FROM GOVERNMENT.

MY MESSAGE TO WORKING FAMILIES IS THIS: WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE.

THAT IS WHY WE'LL ABOLISH ZONE 3 FARES TO DELIVER REAL SAVINGS FOR WORKING FAMILIES LIVING IN THE EAST AND SOUTH EASTERN SUBURBS WHO RELY ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

WITH ZONE 3 FARES GONE, COMMUTERS FROM FRANKSTON FOR EXAMPLE WILL SAVE UP TO $403.20 A YEAR ON THEIR WEEKLY TICKETS.

WE KNOW THAT FAMILY BUDGETS HAVE BEEN HIT BY HIKES IN LOCAL COUNCIL RATES.

THIS YEAR ALONE AVERAGE RATE BILLS IN BOOROONDARA ARE EXPECTED TO JUMP BY 15 PER CENT.

RATES WILL BE GOING UP IN MORELAND BY 16 PER CENT; AND IN SURF COAST SHIRE BY A MASSIVE 18 PER CENT THIS YEAR.

LABOR DOESN'T CARE IF COUNCIL RATES GO THROUGH THE ROOF.

WELL, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

WE'LL CAP MUNICIPAL RATES TO THE VALUE OF CPI CHANGES PLUS TWO PER CENT.

AND WE WISH TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO LIGHTENING THE FINANCIAL BURDEN ON HOMEBUYERS.

THAT'S WHY WE'LL PROVIDE STAMP DUTY RELIEF.

IT WILL BE TARGETED CAREFULLY…

IT WILL BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE.

THE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF OUR PLANS FOR STAMP DUTY RELIEF WILL BE ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK.

HAVING A SAFE AND SECURE COMMUNITY GOES TO THE HEART OF IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF VICTORIAN WORKING FAMILIES.

UNDER LABOR, VIOLENT CRIME HAS INCREASED BY 24.7 PERCENT.

ASSAULTS WITH WEAPONS ARE UP A STAGGERING 37.8 PERCENT.

VICTORIAN WORKING FAMILIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT, IN RAILWAY STATIONS, IN DOWNTOWN MELBOURNE OR MANANGATANG AND IN LOCAL SHOPPING CENTRES.

THAT'S WHY WE WILL RECRUIT AN EXTRA 1050 POLICE AND MAKE AN ADDITIONAL 250 POLICE FULLY OPERATIONAL.

OUR POLICE DO A GREAT JOB.

IT'S A DIFFICULT JOB…

AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THE COMMUNITY GIVE OUR POLICE THE SUPPORT THEY DESERVE.

THEREFORE I ANNOUNCE TODAY

A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WILL TOUGHEN THE CRIMES ACT BY DOUBLING THE JAIL TERM FOR ASSULTS AGAINST POLICE FROM FIVE TO TEN YEARS.

AND WE'LL CREATE NEW PENALTIES FOR THOSE INTENDING TO ATTACK POLICE.

'NO GO AREAS' AT DEMONSTRATIONS AND PROTEST MEETINGS WILL BE DEFINED CLEARLY TO HELP POLICE DO THEIR JOB OF PROTECTING PEOPLE AND THEIR PROPERTY.

WE WILL ALSO BRING IN REQUIRED MINIMUM SENTENCES FOR SERIOUS CRIMES.

OUR MAJOR HOSPITALS NEED TO BE UPDATED AS A MATTER OF PRIORITY.

THEY'RE SUPERB, ICONIC INSTITUTIONS…

STAFFED BY DEDICATED DOCTORS, NURSES AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

THEY NEED A NEW HOME…

MODERN FACILITIES…

IN A PRECINCT THAT PROVIDES WORLD CLASS MEDICAL TREATMENT.

WE'LL TURN VISION INTO REALITY BY INVESTING IN A TEN YEAR CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM TO CREATE THIS WORLD-CLASS MEDICAL PRECINCT FOR VICTORIA.

THE ROYAL CHILDREN'S, ROYAL WOMEN'S AND ROYAL MELBOURNE HOSPITALS WILL BE REBUILT AND DEVELOPED.

THE ROYAL CHILDREN'S WILL INCLUDE VICTORIA'S FIRST COMPREHENSIVE PEDIATRIC REHABILITATION UNIT, IN A 300 MILLION DOLLAR REBUILD.

WE WILL CO-LOCATE THE ROYAL WOMEN'S HOSPITAL TO A NEW SITE IN PARKVILLE - AT A COST OF 220 MILLION DOLLARS.

AND WE WILL FUND A SCOPING STUDY FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ROYAL MELBOURNE ON ITS CURRENT SITE.

BUT THERE ARE ALSO URGENT TASKS TO CONFRONT AND SOLVE RIGHT NOW

…NONE MORE SO THAN THE ISSUE OF WAITING LISTS.

DESPITE THEIR PROMISE…

DESPITE THE HYPE AND THE SPIN…

LABOR HAS SIMPLY NOT DELIVERED ON WAITING LISTS.

THERE'S SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG WHEN A BILLION EXTRA DOLLARS GOES TO OUR HOSPITALS, BUT THE MOST BASIC PROBLEMS GET WORSE.

WE HAVE A STRATEGY TO FIX THE PROBLEM OF HOSPITAL WAITING LISTS.

LABOR DOESN'T.

WHAT I'M ANNOUNCING TODAY WILL BRING WAITING LISTS DOWN AND KEEP THEM DOWN.

IT'S INNOVATIVE AND BOLD.

THE FIRST STEP IS TO STOP WAITING LISTS GROWING ANY FURTHER.

WE'LL DO THIS WITH A SPECIAL HOSPITAL WAITING LIST FUND THAT WILL HANDLE THE EXPECTED 35,000 EXTRA PATIENTS OUR HOSPITALS WILL TREAT EVERY YEAR INTO THE FUTURE.

THE SECOND STEP IS TO DEAL WITH THE WAITING LIST BACKLOG.

THE MONEY FOR THIS SECOND STEP WILL COME FROM THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND.

IT WILL BE USED TO CONDUCT REGULAR BLITZES ON PRIORITY SURGICAL PROCEDURES FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ON THE WAITING LIST FOR ELECTIVE SURGERY FOR LONGER THAN IS CLINICALLY IDEAL.

HIP REPLACEMENTS

KNEE RECONSTRUCTIONS; AND

HEART SURGERY.

WILL BE THE TYPES OF ELECTIVE SURGERY TARGETED WITH THIS APPROACH.

I'VE TALKED TO DOCTORS AND NURSES ABOUT THIS PLAN.

I KNOW IT WILL WORK.

AS A FURTHER INITIATIVE WE WILL BUILD THE KNOX HOSPITAL TO MEET THE GROWING DEMAND FOR ELECTIVE SURGERY FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN THE EASTERN SUBURBS.

IN EDUCATION THIS GOVERNMENT HAS LET SCHOOL STANDARDS SLIP.

WE ARE THE ONLY STATE WITHOUT FULL STATEWIDE TESTING OF YEAR 7 STUDENTS.

WE DON'T HAVE BENCHMARKING OF STANDARDS AGAINST NATIONAL BENCHMARKS.

OUR PARENTS DESERVE BETTER.

OUR CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER.

OUR SCHOOLS DESERVE BETTER.

A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE SURE PARENTS HAVE THE BEST POSSIBLE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THEIR CHILDREN'S PROGRESS AT SCHOOL.

WE WILL ALSO ACT IMMEDIATELY TO IMPLEMENT FULL STATEWIDE TESTING OF ALL YEAR 7 STUDENTS AND NATIONAL BENCHMARKING OF RESULTS.

FOR COUNTRY CHILDREN, 20 MILLION DOLLARS WILL BE ALLOCATED OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS FOR THEIR LOCAL SCHOOLS.

THIS MONEY WILL BE PAID INTO THE INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL'S GLOBAL BUDGET.

IT WILL BE ABLE TO BE USED AS THE SCHOOLS SEE FIT.

THAT COULD MEAN AN EXTRA TEACHER…

OR NEW TECHNOLOGY.

OR MORE SPORTING EQUIPMENT.

THE SCHOOL WILL DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR THEIR STUDENTS WHEN USING THIS MONEY.

OLDER VICTORIANS DESERVE SPECIAL ATTENTION AND WILL RECEIVE IT FROM THE GOVERNMENT I LEAD.

HAVING A FEELING OF SECURITY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR OLDER VICTORIANS.

OUR PLANS TO ATTACK CRIME AND MAKE OUR STREETS AND COMMUNITIES SAFER WILL BRING GREATER PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE WHO HAVE MADE SUCH A WONDERFUL CONTRIBUTION TO OUR STATE.

BUT OUR EFFORTS FOR OLDER VICTORIANS WILL GO MUCH FURTHER.

WE WILL INCREASE THE MAXIMUM PENSIONER CONCESSION ON MUNICIPAL RATES FROM $135 TO $200.

IN CO-OPERATION WITH THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT WE WILL ALSO EXTEND A RANGE OF CURRENT PENSIONER CONCESSIONS TO SELF-FUNDED RETIREES WHO QUALIFY FOR THE COMMONWEALTH SENIOR HEALTH CARD.

UNDER OUR PLAN, CONCESSIONS WILL INCLUDE MUNICIPAL RATES; WATER AND SEWAGE CONNECTION AND SERVICE CHARGES; ELECTRICITY; AND CAR REGISTRATION.

IT IS A PRACTICAL AND SENSIBLE INITIATIVE…

COUNTRY VICTORIA IS A SPECIAL PLACE.

I SPENT ALL MY PRIMARY SCHOOL YEARS IN COUNTRY VICTORIA.

COUNTRY PEOPLE DON'T BUY POLITICAL SPIN.

LABOR HAS PROMISED THE WORLD…

BUT HAS BEEN SHORT ON DELIVERING PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR COUNTRY VICTORIA.

OUR PRACTICAL PLAN TO IMPROVE EDUCATION STANDARDS, REDUCE CRIME, CAP COUNCIL RATES AND IMPROVE OUR HEALTH DELIVERY SYSTEM GOES TO THE HEART OF REVITALISING COUNTRY VICTORIA.

THERE ARE ALSO SPECIFIC THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE FOR COUNTRY VICTORIA.

COUNTRY VICTORIANS HAVE A RIGHT TO AFFORDABLE AND RELIABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY.

IT IS CRUCIAL TO STIMULATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

WE WILL ESTABLISH A $50 MILLION GAS RETICULATION FUND TO EXPAND THE NETWORK - CONNECTING MANY WORKING FAMILIES AND COUNTRY BUSINESSES TO NATURAL GAS FOR THE FIRST TIME.

LET ME TURN TO ELECTRICITY.

AT THE LAST ELECTION LABOR PROMISED $8 MILLION TO UPGRADE POWER LINES IN SOUTHWEST VICTORIA.

ONLY $3 MILLION OF IT WAS SPENT.

AND NOW THEY'RE SAYING THEY WILL SPEND THE MONEY ON SOMETHING ELSE.

WE WILL COMPLETE THIS PROJECT.

WE WILL ALSO EXTEND THIS SCHEME TO FARMERS IN PLACES LIKE CARDINIA SHIRE, IMPROVING SERVICES FOR MANY DAIRY FARMERS IN THE REGION.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE STATE OF BRIDGES IN COUNTRY VICTORIA ARE A DISGRACE.

MANY ARE OVER 70 YEARS OLD AND CAN'T COPE WITH HEAVY LOADS AND TRAFFIC FLOWS.

IN STRATHBOGIE THE COUNCIL WAS FORCED TO FIX A HOLE IN A TIMBER BRIDGE WITH OLD STEEL ROAD SIGNS.

THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

WE WILL ESTABLISH A FIVE YEAR, $55 MILLION LOCAL BRIDGE FUND TO REPAIR AND REPLACE COUNCIL BRIDGES ACROSS THE STATE.

WE'LL WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH COUNCILS TO MAKE THIS A PRIORITY FOR COUNTRY VICTORIA.

IT'S NOW NEARLY 20 YEARS SINCE THE ASH WEDNESDAY BUSHFIRES DEVASTATED VICTORIA.

WE PRAY WE WILL NEVER SEE THE LIKES OF ASH WEDNESDAY AGAIN.

BUT WE MUST READY TO DEAL WITH ANY EMERGENCY WITH THE BEST EQUIPMENT POSSIBLE.

THAT'S WHY WE'LL INVEST 46 MILION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS TO UPGRADE OUR CFA TANKER FLEET.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING ALL VICTORIANS IS WATER.

WE NEED A CULTURAL CHANGE IN OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROTECTION AND USE OF THIS SCARCE RESOURCE.

DURING THE WEEK AHEAD I WILL BE SETTING OUT FURTHER POLICIES AND INITIATIVES FOR COUNTRY VICTORIA.

ON THE ENVIRONMENT, OUR APPROACH TO WILL BE BASED ON THE TWIN PILLARS OF CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY.

WE WILL CREATE FIFTY NEW RANGER POSITIONS TO PROTECT OUR PRECIOUS PARKS AND COASTAL REGIONS.

WE'LL ALSO IMPLEMENT A DECADE ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE THE LONG TERM HEALTH OF OUR WORLD FAMOUS YARRA RIVER.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

I'M DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE LACK DIRECTION AND DRIFT IN VICTORIA.

WHEN YOU PAUSE AND SEE THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT'S EXPENSIVE TAXPAYER FUNDED PUBLIC RELATIONS HYPE, THE REALITY IS THAT SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH IS HAPPENING.

LABOR HAS NOT DONE ENOUGH TO PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

AND FOR VICTORIA, THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I SAID EARLIER THAT I AM COMMITTED TO WORK MY HARDEST EVERY DAY FOR VICTORIA.

THAT'S NOT ONLY MY COMMITMENT…

THAT'S MY TEAM'S COMMITMENT.

THE INITIATIVES I'VE ANNOUNCED TODAY AND THE POLICIES RELEASED DURING THE CAMPAIGN ARE FULLY COSTED AND AFFORDABLE.

THEY ARE PRACTICAL, COMMONSENSE POLICIES…AND THEY CAN BE DELIVERED.

I WANT TO PAY GREAT TRIBUTE TO JENNY AND OUR CHILDREN…

PARTICULARLY MY SON ANDY WHO HAS COMPLETED HIS YEAR 12 EXAMS DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

JENNY…

TO YOU…

ANDY…

BRIDIE; AND…

ANTONIA

I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU FOR

YOUR COMMONSENSE…

YOUR SUPPORT…

YOUR OCCASIONAL ADVICE…

AND ABOVE ALL…

YOUR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

MY FRIENDS.

POLITICS IS A SERIOUS BUSINESS.

IT'S NOT A GAME.

GOVERNMENT TOUCHES PEOPLE'S LIVES IN REAL AND PRACTICAL WAYS.

THAT'S WHY EVERY ELECTION IS IMPORTANT….

BUT NONE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS.

WHEN YOU SEEK GOVERNMENT YOU'RE ASKING FOR MORE THAN PEOPLE'S VOTES…

YOU'RE REQUESTING THEIR TRUST.

IF LABOR EXPECTED - OR HOPED - THAT

I

MY COLLEAGUES,

LIBERAL MEMBERS OR LIBERAL SUPPORTERS…

WOULD TAKE A STEP BACK DURING THIS CAMPAIGN…

THEN THEY'RE DEAD WRONG.

ADVERSITY OR SETBACKS ONLY MAKES US MORE DETERMINED…MORE FOCUSED.

I WILL CONTINUE TO DEVOTE EVERY WAKING HOUR BETWEEN NOW AND THE CLOSE OF THE POLLS TO HOLD LABOR TO ACCOUNT FOR ITS INACTION AND DRIFT.

MY PARLIAMENTARY TEAM WILL BE DOING THE SAME.

WE ARE READY TO ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT.

WE WILL DELIVER FAIR AND DECISIVE LEADERSHIP.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE…

FROM MURRAYVILLE TO MALLACOUTA;

FROM WODONGA TO WYE RIVER

FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

FROM EAST TO WEST OF OUR GREAT STATE

WE WILL GOVERN FOR EVERYONE…

ONLY A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT HAS THE DISCIPLINE, THE VISION, AND THE POLICIES…

TO PROTECT VICTORIA'S FUTURE.

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