Victorian fishers and boaters won’t benefit from better, safer boat ramps, piers and jetties for at least another 12 months, after the Labor State Budget failed to invest.
Labor likes to say it’s improving safety through ‘significant’ investment in Victoria’s boating and fishing industries, but this is simply false.
By its own measure, the Andrews Labor Government has topped off its third year in a row failing bay assets, exposing the true reality of our piers, boat ramps and jetties across Victoria.
Just two weeks ago we saw the Black Rock Pier collapse due to ferocious weather and just down the road, after 12 months of community advocacy, Hampton Pier remains closed to public access.
What’s worse is that in the 2021/22 State Budget, Labor has cut the number of recreational boating and fishing and infrastructure improvements being delivered by 66 per cent – down to just two projects in the next financial year (Budget Paper 3, p345).
This Labor Government is a fish out of water when it comes to the maintenance of core bayside assets. For three years running, it’s failed to meet its self-imposed targets and shows no sign of doing so.
Labor loves to spruik its Better Boating Fund, but fishers and boaters across the bay will be watching to see whether this fund does anything to remediate the condition of piers and jetties which Parks Victoria just can’t seem to manage.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Fishing and Boating Brad Rowswell
Labor’s focus should be less about photo opportunities and more about investing in fixing dilapidated boat ramps and jetties.
Tens of thousands of Victorians will hit the water to enjoy our magnificent environment or catch a fish over summer and now is the time to be doing upgrades so our bays, lakes and rivers are ready for the influx that will come in six months’ time.
But instead, Labor has no plan to restore our vital bay assets before they’re destroyed for good.