What an incredibly busy few months!
Since my last Mail column, the State Government handed down its budget and I was appointed to Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.
This scrutinises expenditure of public money in the Government’s State Budget at public hearings in which the Premier and Ministers answer questions and give evidence.
So, what’s in the State Budget for our community in the Evelyn electorate?
I was proud to see the budget provide funding for some issues I’ve long advocated for.
I pay tribute to the dedication of parents and staff at Yarra Ranges Special Developmental School (SDS) and volunteers at Mooroolbark Soccer Club for finally getting much-needed funding.
I’m particularly passionate about helping address the condition of Yarra Ranges SDS, a school in Mount Evelyn with about 125 kids with disabilities and special needs.
For too long students families and educators have endured dilapidated buildings and unsafe, cordoned-off sections.
Having lobbied for this funding now means Yarra Ranges SDS can commence its rebuild.
These children enrich the lives of everyone around them, and I can assure you I’ve never heard our national anthem sung with as much gusto as by these beautiful students!
Unfortunately, the budget lacks funding for infrastructure in the Evelyn electorate.
Many residents ask me when the Lilydale and Mooroolbark rail level crossings will be removed, since the government’s announcement five years ago.
Both crossings are dangerous and contribute to congestion for locals.
Still listed in “early planning stages”, this budget provides no funding assurances or if they’ll be delivered by 2022.
Also, there was no funding for vital road safety upgrades.
I’ve been working together with local residents on community campaigns and have spoken in Parliament seeking upgrades to Maroondah Highway at Killara Road in Coldstream, Warburton Highway between Sunnyside and Peters roads in Seville East, and Mooroolbark and Hull roads in Mooroolbark, however the State Budget provides no funding for roads in Evelyn.
With Victoria’s road toll at a 14-year high and deaths on country roads 80 per cent higher than this time last year, I’ll keep working hard to advocate for upgrades to local roads to make them safer.
CFA volunteers are often first responders to road trauma.
Unfortunately the CFA capital budget was cut and there is no funding assurance to upgrade local CFA brigades.
I’ll keep listening and working hard to deliver for our community.
If I can help you, please contact the Evelyn electorate office on 9735 3208.