A $5.86 million revamp of Wodonga’s city centre is set to be scrapped if the Coalition wins government on September 7.
Nationals leader Warren Truss said yesterday a Coalition government would not honour Labor Party projects funded under the Regional Development Australia fund if contracts had not been signed for the works.
“If there haven’t been contracts signed then they are just Labor party election promises,” he said.
Labor Regional Development Minister Catherine King last Friday announced the big news of a grant to make over the heart of Wodonga and this week declared almost $300,000 in federal funding towards Rutherglen’s Main Street rejuvenation project.
Mount Beauty was also earmarked for almost $250,000 towards streetscape works.
Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt was yesterday calling on the backing of member for Indi Sophie Mirabella.
“A change of government may throw a different light on this matter, however we have written to Mrs Mirabella and urged her to provide her complete backing to this project and associated funding,” he said.
“We were given an iron-clad guarantee by the Labor Party last Friday that this funding was not dependent on the outcome of the federal election.
“Projects of this magnitude, which will transform Wodonga’s city heart and create significant employment and investment opportunities, should not be jeopardised by election campaigns.”
Alpine mayor Peter Roper remained optimistic.
“We are confident that regardless of which political party come into power, the funds to deliver the project will be available,” he said.
The foreshore project aims to increase community use and improve appearance and accessibility of the Mount Beauty pondage foreshore and recreation facilities.
But Indigo Shire councillor Don Chambers was in disbelief.
“I don’t believe this is what’s going to happen, the Coalition are breaking precedence,” he said.
“We will have to wait and see but I remain optimistic.”
While Mr Truss plans to axe Labor government programs not under signed contract, he told the National Press Club a Coalition government would roll out a $1 billion fund to support regional areas and set its own road and rail priorities.
He revealed the Coalition would spend $200 million a year over five years on a National Stronger Regions Fund.
Asked what would happen to the hundreds of projects in train under Labor’s Regional Development Australia Fund, he said the Coalition would honour all signed contracts.
Mr Truss said Labor immediately cancelled Coalition government-funded projects when it came to power in 2007.