LIBERAL Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent has vowed to do all he can to secure future funding for the Moe Rail Precinct Revitalisation Project, after doubt was cast over the certainty of federal money for the project last week.
The Moe community rejoiced last month when the Federal Labor Government announced $7.5 million for its long awaited project.
Last week, however, it emerged funding agreements had not been finalised before the government entered pre-election caretaker mode and, when asked by The Express, Mr Broadbent was unable to say for certain whether a potential future Liberal Government could deliver on a project which formed part of the Labor Government’s budget.
Mr Broadbent said he would need further information on the details of the existing commitment which “should have been dealt with” by the Labor Government already.
Key Moe community leaders and Latrobe City Council chief executive Paul Buckley said they expected the funding should be formalised regardless of which government was elected and State Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Matt Viney said Mr Broadbent should “commit to seeing this project go ahead and not ripping up the funding that is already sitting there in this year’s federal budget”.
Later, Mr Broadbent sought to clarify his stance, saying he was “100 per cent behind” the Moe project and had “no doubt” it would proceed whatever the election outcome.
Referring to Mr Broadbent’s earlier reluctance to comment on any future Coalition Government decision, Mr Viney said “the idea that every single funding agreement must be signed by government within five weeks of the start of the financial year is absurd”.
While Mr Viney said Mr Broadbent’s comments placed a “huge question mark over the support he has previously expressed for this project”, Mr Broadbent insisted he would do “everything I can to facilitate the signing of any contracts that are outstanding” if it turned out formalities had not been concluded.
He maintained, however, the Federal Government should have concluded formalities before the caretaker period given it had announced the funding and “signed off” on it.
Referring to a local Liberal Party source who told The Express he “seriously doubted” the Moe funding would go ahead in the absence any funding agreements in place, Mr Broadbent said it was “most disappointing to hear” such doubts had been raised.
The MP said nobody had ever raised with him the possibility of a Coalition Government “refusing to honour the funding”.