Posted on 01. Jul, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government has today hiked up fees and fines despite a promise to cut the cost of living for Victorians, Shadow Treasurer Tim Holding said.

“From today, Victorians will see a rise in a range of fees and fines, including driver’s licenses, car registrations and speeding fines,” Mr Holding said.

“This is nothing but hypocrisy from the Treasurer, Kim Wells, who described automatic indexation as outrageous in 2008 but has embraced it in 2011.

“Anyone who voted for the Baillieu Government on the back of its promise to bring down the cost of living has every right to feel betrayed.”

The start of the new financial year also marks the end of funding for a range of programs that provided significant benefits for Victorians.

“Mr Baillieu claims he delivered a caring budget but there is nothing caring about scrapping funding for programs that have made a real difference to the lives of Victorians,” Mr Holding said.

“This Government has continually played the blame game on why it hasn’t backed these programs, falsely pointing fingers at the former government, federal government and even the weather.

“The fact remains, this Government has made the choice to cut funding for these programs.

“This is a Government that has a clear mandate and control over the budget so has no one to blame but itself for not funding these programs.”

From today, funding will be cut to a range of programs, including:

• Kids Go For Your life. This program encouraged physical activity and healthy eating in children through primary schools and early childhood services.
• Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program. Only children born in public hospitals will have access to what was previously a universal hearing test in the days after birth. This means around 20,000 babies born in Victorian private hospitals each year will no longer have access to this hearing test.
• Young readers programs. This was the only universal reading program that provided 100,000 free books to families to start children reading from a young age. The program encouraged families to read to their children and was run through Maternal and Child Health Centres and municipal libraries.
• School Start Bonus. Nearly 100,000 families who were previously eligible for the $300 payment will now miss out on the vital education supplement for parents of children in prep and year 7.
• Freeza Central. This program gave young people a foot in the door to the music and entertainment industry with accredited training workshops, one-on-one mentoring with industry professionals and participation in live music event management and CD recording and production.
• Victoria Works Program. Funding has stopped for a number of programs designed to help Victorians access employment. Programs have been cut that were designed to assist parents, carers, mature age workers, young people and indigenous Victorians.
• Living Longer Living Stronger. This was a program funded by the State Government and run by the Council of the Ageing to provide exercise and strength training for senior Victorians. Over 17,000 people have participated in training programs each year since 2003.
• Apprentice Completion Bonus. This program supported employers of 14,000 young apprentices to complete their training and continue on to become fully qualified tradespeople. From today, no new apprentices will be eligible for this program, and funding will be phased out over the next three years; and
• Take-A-Break Occasional childcare. Over 9000 families will lose their childcare as programs at more 220 centres across the state have been defunded. The Baillieu Government has refused to guarantee future funding and only provided six months “transitional” funding, so services can wind up.

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