14 May 2012
Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss addressed the party’s state conference in Bendigo on Saturday.
He said “Bendigo deserves better” and vowed to fight hard to win the city’s federal seat at the next election.
Mr Truss praised Bendigo state MP Damian Drum and federal Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“I hope we can add to our team at the election coming up,” he said.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan delivered the opening address on Saturday and focused on job creation.
He said the state had a volatile jobs market but expected unemployment would fall as productivity improved.
Mr Ryan said the government’s decision to cut 4200 public sector jobs was proof it was willing to make tough decisions.
“In opposition, you can be everyone’s champ. In government, you cannot be everyone’s friend – you’ve got to deliver,” he said.
Mr Ryan spoke of the 25 Bendigo projects his government had supported, including redevelopments at Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo Library, Hazeldene’s and the city’s airport.
He slammed the former Labor government, which he said “could not manage money”.
Mr Ryan said the former Labor government’s legacy would linger for decades and was a “living nightmare” for his government.
The comments drew a response from Labor leader Daniel Andrews via Twitter. Mr Andrews accused the government of “(blaming) everyone else for everything”.
He also questioned the number of full-time jobs the government had created, in response to Mr Ryan telling the conference his government had created 34,000 jobs in two months.
Mr Ryan told the conference its state MPs would deliver its promises because “we are the Nationals and we are the government”.
His comments, which concluded his speech, attracted a standing ovation from a packed Bendigo Town Hall.