Victorians are the losers of a "Sydney-centric" federal cabinet reshuffle in which Darren Chester was dumped as infrastructure minister, the state Labor government says.
The Victorian Nationals MP got the boot from cabinet on Tuesday, losing his transport and infrastructure portfolios, with the latter ministry handed to recently-returned Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
“By dumping a loyal Victorian and replacing him with just another politician from NSW, it’s clear Malcolm Turnbull couldn’t care less about our state,” Victoria’s Treasurer Tim Pallas said in a statement.
Mr Pallas said infrastructure funding had become increasingly farcical and outrageous and now four NSW politicians – Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison, Paul Fletcher and Barnaby Joyce – are in charge of making decisions in the sector.
Victorian taxpayers, who make up 25.9 per cent of the Australian population, are forking out billions of dollars for projects in NSW, he added.
“We’ll keep fighting this Sydney-centric government for our fair share, while continuing to grow our economy, create jobs and invest in the projects our state voted for and needs,” Mr Pallas said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said it would be a “further blow” to lose a Victorian voice from the cabinet table.
“(Mr Chester)’s always been professional, he’s always been about getting an important outcome, not squabbling,” the premier told reporters.
Mr Andrews said Victoria gets less than 10 per cent of federal infrastructure funding, and the state is pushing through new building projects so quickly it’s hard to find workers.
“We have so much on at the moment that we are facing a few workforce shortages… But what a great problem to have,” he said.