Daniel Andrews travelled to a farm in Maroona, in western Victoria. (ABC News: Bridget Rollason)
It may be the race that stops the nation, but Victoria’s political leaders have not stopped their campaigning, skipping the city to make election pledges outside Melbourne on Cup Day.
- Daniel Andrews announces a number of agriculture support measures in western Victoria
- Matthew Guy travels to Gippsland, pledging a new ambulance station at Drouin
- The Coalition is yet to decide whether it will contest several inner-city seats where the Greens threaten Labor
Premier Daniel Andrews travelled to the ultra-marginal Liberal-held seat of Ripon in western Victoria to make a suite of promises aimed at farmers, including $1.2 million to develop and promote a TAFE shearing course.
Mr Andrews also pledged $6 million to upgrade student accommodation and facilities at agricultural colleges at Longerenong and Glenormiston in the state’s west, and Dookie, near Shepparton.
Labor is also pledging $3 million to improve farm health and safety.
Victorian wool exports were worth $1.8 billion in 2016-17 and Mr Andrews said he wanted the sector to continue to thrive.
“Our wool industry is booming and sheep shearing is an iconic part of our Victorian story — we want it to stay that way,” Mr Andrews said.
Liberal MP Louise Staley holds Ripon on a margin of 0.8 per cent.
Matthew Guy’s first stop on Tuesday was Drouin, east of Melbourne. (ABC News: Stephanie Anderson)
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy travelled east to Gippsland to pledge $2 million for a new ambulance station in Drouin, in the safe Liberal seat of Narracan, before travelling further east into the politically sensitive Latrobe Valley.
Mr Guy said Drouin’s existing ambulance station was in a leased premises in an industrial state outside the town centre.
“We’ve got to give them better resources and better services,” he said.
“It’s a small but very important announcement when it comes to decentralisation and growing all of our state rather than just Melbourne.”
Nominations for the major parties close on Thursday, and the Liberals are yet to decide whether they will run in inner-city seats where Labor is vulnerable to the Greens.
Mr Guy denied the party was struggling with the decision.
“The administrative committee has determined the state president, the state director and myself [will] make that decision and we will make it probably in the next two days,” he said.
“To be completely frank I think every option is on the table. Running, not running, open tickets.”
The Coalition has also faced questions about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s absence from the campaign trail.
While the Liberals in Victoria take their election campaign bus around the state, Scott Morrison has his own bus touring marginal electorates in Queensland.
But Mr Guy said the Prime Minister would join him on the campaign.
“He is coming down here to campaign with me, and I’m pleased to say that, but not today, we’re in Gippsland, he’s in Queensland, but he is coming down to campaign with me very soon,” Mr Guy said.