Victoria Government Alleges Liberals Failing Victorians Amidst Political Campaign

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.
April 8, 2022 Updated: May 2, 2022

The Victorian Labor Government has criticised the conservative Opposition for failing Victorians after the Victorian Opposition Leader and his colleagues voted against a motion that the federal government did not deliver for the state in the 2022 federal budget.

“Today’s vote shows where Liberal and National MPs stand–on the side of cutting funding to Victorians even after two tough years of a global pandemic,” Victorian Minister for Health, Martin Foley said on April 7.

The criticism came as the Opposition leader Matthew Guy and other Coalition MPs voted against the motion in the Legislative Assembly on April 7 (pdf).

The motion, passed by 50 votes to 23, stated that the Federal Coalition “failed to deliver Victorians their fair share” in the 2022 budget as well as the statement that the Coalition will cut all COVID-19 funding at the end of September, which will be $1.5 billion (US$1.12 billion) for the state of Victoria.

In the 2022 federal budget, of the new infrastructure funding offered, Victoria received $208 million for infrastructure as opposed to Western Australia and New South Wales which received $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion respectively.

“The Liberal and Nationals had their chance–and failed. The message this sends to all Victorians is the state Coalition just don’t care our home state is losing out to Canberra,” Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

The news comes after a report by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) found Victorian Labor’s two tax-funded advertising campaigns did not comply with state laws for government advertising and are also unclear in their cost-effectiveness.

The two campaigns, Our Fair Share (OFS) and Victoria’s Big Build (VBB) costed $1.7 million and $11.5 million respectively and were found non-compliant for carrying political messages for promoting the state government with the OFS campaign also criticising the federal government.

In 2017, the Victorian parliament passed laws to stop public sector agencies from publishing political advertising by ensuring it was always in the public interest.

The OFS campaign ran from April to June 2019 in the lead up to the 2019 federal elections. The campaign promoted the state government’s spending whilst criticising federal funding by stating that “it’s time Canberra did their part, we just want our fair share.”

The VBB is a current campaign on road works and is still ongoing, the VAGO found some of the advertising to be political for promoting state funding on transport projects “rather than disruptions” that would come with these works and would therefore, lie in Victorians’ public interests.

In total VAGO reported that the Victorian Government spends at least $80 million a year on its advertising and they gave recommendations for improved spending reporting and to improve legal compliance.

Victorian Opposition Leader, Matthew Guy asked in state parliament if the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will pay for the political campaigns paid by taxpayer money.

However, Andrews responded by criticising the federal government’s lack of funding for the state.

“When the Prime Minister stops ripping off Victorians, then we won’t have to run ads pointing that out,” Andrews said.

When asked about his response to the report, Andrews responded on April 6 stating that he “wouldn’t hesitate to run that campaign again.”

The Victorian Government has accepted all of the recommendations but the first recommendation which called for an independent review of government advertising laws.

The news comes during federal election season with the elections expected to be held in mid-May.

Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.