Federal Labor minister Simon Crean.OUTGOING Federal Labor minister Simon Crean has left a legacy of spending more than $70million on Albury since 2010.
In his role of regional development minister, Mr Crean is credited with playing a major part in ensuring Labor funded one of the most significant pieces of public infrastructure, the $65million cancer centre in May 2011.
The project missed out from the original list, but was approved in a second round, Mr Crean using ABC television program Q&A, being broadcast from Albury, to announce in an understated way the money would be included in the 2011-12 budget.
Member for Indi Sophie Mirabella was also a panel member on the night and thanked her parliamentary rival for the announcement.
Mr Crean, a one-time Labor leader, announced his resignation from politics yesterday.
He was forced to quit the regional development portfolio in March this year when he called on Kevin Rudd to challenge then prime minister Julia Gillard to end the speculation around the party leadership.
Wodonga and Corowa councils are sweating on the next round of Regional Development Australia Funding to be announced on July 12.
Wodonga’s $6million bid for CBD improvements and Corowa’s $1.1million request for a saleyards upgrade are on the funding short-list.
Mr Crean also announced $5million for the Charles Sturt University allied health clinic, $3.5million for the Albury art gallery redevelopment and $400,000 for the Oddies Creek playground.
He opened the $4.8million Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ new headquarters in Hovell Street in November 2010 and attended the opening of The Cube entertainment centre in Wodonga only last August.
The federal government contributed $3million to The Cube with the former Labor state government chipping in $4million.
Wodonga ratepayers made up the balance of the $9million facility.
Wangaratta’s Ovens riverside redevelopment was also the beneficiary of $2.5million and Benalla snared $1.1million for its Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Learning Centre during Mr Crean’s time as regional development minister.
He said yesterday he was proud of the “cultural change” to regional development under Labor.
“It was about getting (locals) to identify what it was they wanted to pursue with us providing the how, policies and resources to do it,” he said.
“I’m very proud of what we achieved in the regions and this should be a lasting legacy.
“I would like to see the approach embedded.”
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