Govt will ‘go on’

It will be “business as usual” in the Latrobe Valley following Monday’s Prime Ministerial leadership change, according to the Latrobe Valley’s Federal MPs.

Both Liberal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent and Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester have expressed disappointment at yet another Prime Minister removed from office without a general election.

However, each reiterated projects in the Latrobe Valley would continue to move forward despite the change at the top.

“The workings of government continue on and that’s important,” Mr Broadbent said.

“The projects like the Moe (Railway) Precinct (which has federal funding), they keep going on. They will continue to be fulfilled, the investment keeps going.”

Mr Chester had a similar message about local projects, including the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale.

The two MPs threw their support behind new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull despite Mr Broadbent voting in the party room to retain former PM Tony Abbott. Mr Chester yesterday said while he and the region had always had the support of Mr Abbott, he talked up the new Coalition agreement between the Liberal and National parties, which came about after the change. The agreement will result in support in several areas, including rural infrastructure, higher education and increased funding for mobile phone and television blackspots.

“That’s a big issue for Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Chester said.

Like many have done this week, Mr Chester also criticised the current situation in Australian politics.

He said Australians must question what had caused “the greatest nation in the world” to have four Prime Ministerial changes since 2010.

“We need to focus on the debate of the policies of the day rather than the personality of Members of Parliament themselves,” he said.

In response to Mr Abbott’s criticism of the media during his final speech as PM, Mr Chester, a former journalist, admitted commentary in social and mainstream media had “made politics in Australia more volatile”.

Mr Chester said Latrobe Valley and Gippsland residents had written to him expressing surprise at the speed of the leadership change.

He said they wanted him to continue to focus on supporting Gippsland job growth, roads, health, education and tackling drug issues in the region.

“These are the issues that people want me focused on, not the inside party machinery which takes up the airtime of the national media,” he said.