MORE hospital beds or AFL football in Ballarat?
The two major political parties have today staked their electoral future for three key regional seats on very differing, but both substantial, funding promises.
The Liberal Party this morning announced $83 million for an expansion of Ballarat Health Services, suggesting more than 90 new beds will be established. It has not however provided detail on any increase in recurrent hospital funding to operate the expanded facility.
The Labor Party just half an hour later announced it would support AFL club the Western Bulldogs in hosting AFL games in Ballarat. Its $30 million commitment to the Eureka Stadium precinct was announced in April this year but gains real impetus with the Bulldogs' support. The support of the AFL, crucially, is yet to be understood.
For so long Ballarat has been the victim of non-marginal state and federal seats. Our city has not been afforded the the same investment as our regional rivals and it has created a less than positive debate about our future.
So we welcome the increased focus on Ballarat during this campaign.
However, the lack of bipartisanship in support of many of the projects announced thus far in what has been a very long election campaign means voters in Ripon, Wendouree and Buninyong will have very distinct choices at the ballot box.
In isolation, today's announcements puts health against entertainment. What would you choose?