EXTENDING gas supplies across country areas is just one of the projects to be funded by Victoria's $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Acting Premier and regional and rural development minister Peter Ryan said, in Ballarat this morning, the fund would create opportunities in regional and rural areas.
- Have Your Say
- How would you like the government to spend the $1 billion?
- Tell us in the form below.
The $1 billion will be spent during the next eight years.
Key projects will include $100 million to extend natural gas supplies, a $20 million Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund which will aim to increase higher education rates in regional Victoria; and $5 million to develop a plan for a new industry and employment in the Latrobe Valley.
"As of July 1, under this Coalition Government, 48 regional and rural councils, business and community groups can have input into how $1 billion should be invested in their regions during the next eight years," Mr Ryan said.
But the Opposition is calling the fund a "shameful fraud".
Opposition spokeswoman for regional and rural development Jacinta Allan said regional areas would be ripped off because cash would be spent on projects in Melbourne's fringe.
"What they aren't explaining is that the fund – set up to support 1.45 million Victorians living in regional areas – will also be spent on up to 1.2 million Victorians living on Melbourne's fringe," Ms Allan said.
"While it's important Melbourne's suburbs are supported, Mr Ryan needs to explain to regional Victorians why their dedicated fund is now being stretched to cover Melbourne."