Issued Wednesday 3 May 2017
City of Casey Mayor Cr Sam Aziz has added his voice to the chorus of condemnation of the Victorian Government’s decision to slash the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) by half.
The Mayor said the decision in the 2017/18 State Budget was a slap in the face for residents of the fastest growing areas of Victoria who were promised the GSF would cushion the disproportionate impact of rate capping.
“The Victorian Government is either unable or unwilling to address the impact of population growth on areas such as Casey,” he said.
“Our growth is driving economic growth in Victoria and helping to fill government coffers with stamp duty revenue and yet we have been ignored, even punished, in this budget.”
In an extraordinary move, Cr Aziz said the Government had sidelined its own Essential Services Commission study into the impact of rate capping on growth areas.
“It beggars belief the Government would strip $50m from the GSF before the findings of its own study are handed down,” he said.
Cr Aziz said Council would ramp up efforts to advocate on behalf of the community in order to win the infrastructure and services the Casey community deserves.
He pointed to a $1b backlog in arterial road upgrades and the extension of the Cranbourne railway line to Clyde as among the community’s top priorities.
“The Victorian Government is now on notice – the Casey community and its Council will not rest until it receives its fair share of government investment,” he said.
“From critical road and rail infrastructure to the community facilities needed in new estates and established suburbs, we will campaign right up to the next election.”
The Mayor added that Council’s advocacy had already succeeded in securing a second SES unit for Casey, with funding for a unit in Cranbourne announced in the State Budget.
“Council has been urging the Victorian Government to prioritise a second SES unit since September last year, offering to discuss possible locations to serve as a base,” he said.
“It shows the Government will listen when the community and Council work together to send a message they can’t ignore.”