Federal Budget is mixed bag for Victoria: Premier Napthine

Posted : Friday, July 18, 2014

Premier Denis Napthine has described the Federal Budget as a "mixed bag" for Victoria at CEDA's State of the State event in Melbourne.

In some cases, the Federal Government has provided additional funding for the East West Link but cuts to concessions and pensions have impacted the State budget.

"We welcome the fact that the Federal Government provided $3 billion for our East West Link and we look forward to their participation in some of our other infrastructure projects," he said.

"The Prime Minister declared he wants to be the infrastructure prime minister, we're happy to help him as long as he puts his hands in his pocket to help us."

Discussing pensions and concessions, Mr Napthine said federal budget cuts have hurt Victoria's bottom line to the tune of $75 million.

"We've picked up that slack because we don't want pensioners and the disadvantaged to miss out," he said.

Speaking about health and education funding, Mr Napthine said the State government will continue to have ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government, especially in regards to Gonski.

"Education funding - we signed up with the Australian government of the day on a six year agreement and we believe that contract should be honoured," he said.

"We've got commitments from this Government for the first four years but the final two years they've said they're not going to honour."

"We believe that ought to be honoured and we will continue to fight up to 2017/18 for that to be honoured because without their support it will be difficult to maintain the growth in education funding that we would desire."

Mr Napthine also said his government is concerned about the introduction of GP co-payments.

"We're concerned it will have people not going to the GP when they should or going to an emergency department and cost shifting to the state," he said. 

"We'll have ongoing negotiations with our Federal colleagues and we'll see what comes out of the Senate."

On the State's financial standing, Mr Napthine said Victoria is in a strong financial position with retail development and spending increasing and population growth occurring in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

"Our state of Victoria is in a strong financial position, this is not an accident, this is through hard work over a number of years since the election of the Coalition government," he said.

"We are the only state, the only jurisdiction in Australia that has a triple A credit rating and budget surpluses this year and every future year."