Thomas HunterNovember 30, 2010 – 11:49AM
In his first press conference as the leader of Victoria, Mr Baillieu said his government would “work hard, be humble and take a highly professional approach to the issues of governing Victoria”.Advertisement: Story continues below
Ted Ballieu arrives at Government House yesterday. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
“The bottom line is we have lots to do,” he said.
“There will be no hidden agenda, no spin, no secrecy. Accountability and transparency will the principles that underpin our government,” Mr Baillieu said today.
“What you will see is what you will get.”
Focus on public transport
Boosting police presence on public transport is high on the agenda. Other issues included shutting down the controversial north-south pipeline.
‘‘Albeit, that nothing has flowed down the north-south pipeline for months,’’ Mr Baillieu quipped.
‘‘I look forward to (Benalla Nationals MP) Bill Sykes being with me on the day.’’
Removal of clearway restrictions are also marked as a priority, Mr Baillieu said, along with overturning existing planning laws ‘‘that shut out communities and condemn our city to a Sydney-like approach to planning’’.
He said the new Coalition government would act quickly to turn its election promises into reality, with an immediate focus on public transport.
‘‘We will be … injecting additional fund to the maintenance program, immediately reviewing the myki contract,’’ he said.
He would also seek a meeting with the federal government to discuss the federal-state health agreement struck by John Brumby with Julia Gillard, and he would not hesitate to ‘‘renegotiate the agreement’’.
‘‘We will commence an audit of public hospital waiting lists and well will be moving quickly to make all this information public and transparent.’’
Mr Baillieu said he would honour his promise to reduce stamp duty for first-home buyers and he would ‘‘seek to reduce the sort of ambulance subscriptions as soon as possible’’.
After his detailing his policy priorities, Mr Baillieu paused to pay tribute to outgoing Premier John Brumby.
He said the pair shared a friendship that dated back to their days at Melbourne Grammar 45 years ago.
‘‘I spoke to John Brumby at length last night,’’ he revealed.
‘‘He has served this state at highest levels for 11 year and his is a remarkable legacy.’’
‘Goodbye to waste’
The new premier praised sacrifices made by Mr Brumby and his family during his career in the Parliament.
‘‘John’s made those sacrifices and John has been an extraordinary contributor to our state,’’ he said.
‘‘He has good call to be proud. I respect his contribution and I will honour his contribution.
‘‘I want to thank him for his service, thank his wife Rosemary … and I simply say to John now, ‘I wish you well in the future and I wish you every success in the future, unless you intend on staying on as opposition leader’’.
But, his generosity towards Mr Brumby’s legacy only stretched so far.
‘‘You can say goodbye to waste, you can say goodbye to mismanagement,’’ he said moments later.
‘A new era on behalf of all Victorians’
National Party leader Peter Ryan, who will become deputy premier, said ‘‘today we step off into a new era on behalf of all Victorians”.
‘‘We have been accorded a singular honour.
‘‘It is our intention to live up to the expectations we have created during the course of the past years and particularly during the course of the campaign,’’ he said.
‘‘Today we set off into a new era on behalf of all Victorians.’’
Mr Ryan, who retained the seat of Gippsland South, claimed Melbourne was ‘‘surely one of the great capitals of the world’’.
‘‘(But) for those of us that live beyond its boundaries we are intent as a party … in ensuring that the regional parts of the state do receive their fair share of what is available through government resources.
‘‘We are strong supporters of local enterprise, of the small business sector in particular.
‘‘We are the local champions for the regions and we do intend that in the course of our governance to grow our communities in a way that will contribute to all Victoria.’’
– with AAP