維州今天仍然由工黨執政, 但已由新的管治團隊, 在這餘下三年多帶領。新任的艾倫州長(Jacinta Allan)在周一公佈了她的內閣, 令人相信她會以不同方式管治維州。
首先, 原來她所擔任房屋、重要建設、及聯邦運動會項目的相關部長, 現時她全退下, 分散給了別的部長負責。這與安德魯斯一向以來凡事都要由他說了算,制衡各部長的獨裁作風, 並不相同。其次, 艾倫州長在原先主要部長職責上, 再加上更多項目, 例如財長Tim Pallas, 加上了經濟發展部長一職, 可以說是擴大了他們負責範圍,在下屆大選前, 他們要交出成績, 來決定未來可以扮演的角色。第三, 對於曾挑戰他的副州長Ben Carroll, 她委任作教育部長, 仍讓他有表現的機會, 而不是故意忽略他。第四, 不少2018年當選的新議員, 獲委任成為次長或部長, 動員他們的積極性, 在未來兩三年爭取表現, 是為下一屆大選提供更多領袖。
這樣看來, 艾倫州長顯示要在短時間內, 建立她所提拔的團隊, 爭取在下屆大選中, 採取主動。然而她最大的危機, 是在於維州在未來三年, 將要面對巨大的經濟危機。龐大的債務帶來巨額的利息開支, 若經濟環境引致失業人數上升, 更會影響稅收收入。在這群沒有很多經驗的部長帶領下, 維州能否渡過這債務危機, 並不樂觀。
若現時進行的基礎建設如環城鐵路、住房短缺、或重建維州電力局等碰上各種問題而延誤, 下一屆大選維州居民仍否願意工黨繼續執政, 相信是一個極大的考驗。
不過, 對華人社區來說, 原先打算要華人長者護理院延後興建的部長Lizzie Blandthorn由於獲得升級成為兒童事務部長, 因此離開這崗位, 接任者Ingrid Stitt同時也擔任多元文化部長, 會否用不同角度重新考量這項目, 令它重新上馬, 相信會有這可能。華人社區要留意這段時間, 艾倫政府所推出的新政。
在內閣就任後第二天, Tim Pallas推出的空置土地及房屋稅, 明顯是要開拓收入, 也要解決維州房屋短缺問題,表明艾倫州長要爭取在短時間內獲取維州居民支持。華人社區更因此要大大發聲, 為長者向政府據理力爭。
What the new Victorian cabinet can offer to Chinese Australians
Victoria is still governed by the Labor government today for another 3+ years, under new management team though. The new Primeir Jacinta Allan announced her cabinet telling the management of the State would not be the same again.
Firstly, she has quitted her previous portfolios regarding housing, infrastructure and Commonwealth Games all now taken up by various ministers. This is very different to Daniel Andrew’s usual autocratic style. Secondly, she has added loading on the other ministers such as Tim Pallas the Treasurer doubling up on as Minister for Economical Development. She wants to test their greater responsibility in preparing for the next election. Thirdly, for Deputy Premier Ben Carroll who had contested her in the nomination, she has appointed him in a position of importance as the Minister for Education. Fourthly, many of the new parliamentary members from the 2018 election have been appointed as minister or parliamentary secretary; the aim is to assess and prepare them for the next election.
So Allan aims to build up her own team effectively for her future political move. Yet government finance will be her biggest challenge in the next three years. Heavy government debt and interest burdens hurt, especially when unemployment impacts on state revenue. It is uncertain whether this batch of inexperienced ministers could pass the bar.
Labor’s supporters would really need to wait and see how the government performs on the prevailing infrastructure projects such as Suburban Railway Loop, housing supply, State Electricity Commission reform etc.
But Lizzie Blandthorn, who ordered to halt the building project of Chinese aged care home in Templestowe Lower, now moves up as the Minister for Children. Her successor Ingrid Stitt would take up this portfolio in her position as well as the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Chinese community must watch closely on the government as on whether there could be possibly a new hope on this project.
In the second day after cabinet sworn in, Tim Pallas announced the vacant land and housing tax extended to the whole state with a view to increase revenue as well as to tackle housing shortage. Premier Allan is determined to win quick support. Chinese community must take this opportunity to gain interest for our elderly.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher