CREATING jobs would be Labor's top priority for regional and rural Victoria should it win office at the 2014 state election.Victorian Opposition leader Daniel Andrews outlined Labor's Jobs and Growth blueprint at a Rural Press Club of Victoria lunch in Ballarat.
The plans include offering cheap loans through Treasury for cash-strapped councils seeking funds for infrastructure projects, as detailed in The Weekly Times this week.
He said the shortfall in council budgets had "consigned many projects to a life on paper only'' and having Treasury borrow on a council's behalf would help it be ready for growth when it occurred.
Mr Andrews said Labor would also revitalise the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund as "a true fund for regional Victoria and its growth''.
"Jobs are our No 1 priority (for regional and rural Victoria),'' he said.
"Nothing is more important in regional communities - they're the anchor that keep young people in town and help to attract new people.''
At the lunch, Mr Andrews also slammed the Coalition Government for cutbacks to TAFE, the Department of Primary Industries and agriculture programs during its two years in office.
"No country community was better off after a government cutback or a government withdrawal,'' he said.
Mr Andrew's flagged the release of more Victorian Labor policies in coming weeks, marking the halfway point of the Coalition Government's elected four-year term.
"Now is the time to start talking about our priorities and plans,'' he said.