The Andrews Labor Government is helping the Bendigo region recover from the jobs crisis and four years of Coalition cuts to local schools, hospitals and services.
The 2015-16 Victorian Budget invests in the things that local families need to live a healthy, safe and comfortable life, and funds the projects that communities and businesses need to create jobs and drive growth.
In the jobs crisis that gripped our state over the last four years, regional Victoria fared the worst. Iconic businesses closed down, many more teetered on the edge, and young people packed up and left town in search of jobs.
The Budget invests $500 million in a Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. Within it, the $200 million Regional Jobs Fund will support projects to give established industries a real future and emerging industries a real chance.
The $250 million Regional Infrastructure Development Fund will support the development of new centres and attractions to boost business and bring more visitors to regional Victoria.
TAFE cuts hit regional Victoria the hardest. The Budget invests $300 million to complete the TAFE Rescue Fund, which will help regional campuses like at Bendigo TAFE find their feet and offer more courses.
Bendigo TAFE will also get regional Victoria’s newest agricultural campus, training the food and fibre workers of the future.
Crucial regional Local Learning and Employment Networks such as Campaspe Cohuna LLEN, Goldfields LLEN, Highlands LLEN and North Central LLEN have had their funding secured to ensure disengaged kids are supported to get the skills they need for the jobs they want.
The previous Coalition Government cut funds for new school buildings by half. Across Bendigo and district, kids were learning and teachers were working in unsafe, uncomfortable and crowded classrooms.
The Budget invests $324.6 million to rebuild, renovate or refurbish Victorian schools, including 21 in regional Victoria. The innovative Go Goldfields program in Maryborough will continue with $2 million of funding.
Bendigo Senior Secondary, Castlemaine Secondary, Epsom Primary, White Hills Kinder, Huntly Kinder, Spring Gully Kinder, Axdale Preschool and Havilah Road Preschool will be getting needed upgrades or rebuilds. In addition funds for master planning at Kalianna Special School will ensure no time is wasted to get this school rebuilt.
Secondary students deserve a head start on a hands-on vocation. The Budget provides $12 million to support and establish Tech Schools across the state including one in Bendigo.
The Budget also prioritises funds to ensure that Bendigo and district retains its position as a premier visitor destination with funds for the Bendigo Stadium upgrade, $5 million for the Bendigo Aspire Project, $1 million for the Harcourt Mountain Bike Trail and planning money to kick-start the Bendigo to Wandong rail trail.
Job creating projects across Bendigo and district include:
- $5 million for Bendigo Stadium
- $5 million for Bendigo Aspire Project
- $1 million for Harcourt Mountain Bike Trail
- $500,000 for Wedderburn Streetscaping
- Upgrades and rebuilds at Bendigo Senior Secondary, Castlemaine Secondary and Epsom Primary
- Up to $220 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project once the business case is finalised, which is expected to occur in coming months. $30 million was fast-tracked in February to get work started.
The Budget invests $650 million, much of it in regional Victoria, to fix roads and public transport and upgrade freight corridors, so businesses can get their goods to market sooner and regional families can get to their destinations safer.
Across the region there are funds for road safety improvements and upgrades for Napier Street, McIvor Highway, Pyrenees Highway, Loddon Valley Highway, Maryborough-St Arnaud Road and Strathfieldsaye Road.
The Budget allocates further funds towards Bendigo Metro Rail, to boost connectivity across the city and a major investment in 21 new VLocity carriages to carry more passengers on the V/Line network.
Under the Coalition, millions of dollars were cut from our health system and thousands of regional families were left behind. That’s why the Labor Government is investing a record $1.3 billion into Victoria’s health system.
The Budget provides almost $100 million to fix the ambulance crisis by reducing response times and upgrading ambulance stations, equipment and vehicles across the state. Huntly will also get a new CFA Station.
An additional $50 million is to be spent across regional Victoria to reduce bushfire risk through better fuel management on public land.
Users of ice and their distraught families will get the help and support they need, under the Labor Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan. This includes $15 million to provide Victoria Police with new drug and booze buses.
Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews
“Over the last four years, too many young people have packed up and left home in search of jobs. That’s why we’re investing in schools, skills and local industries, to get regional cities and towns back to work.”
“Dedicated regional funds will create the jobs of the future, whilst the TAFE rescue fund will ensure that kids can get the training they need for the job they want.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan
“After four years of Liberal neglect and inaction, we can finally get Bendigo back on track.”
“Whether it’s fixing Napier Street, getting Bendigo Metro Rail up and running, building a new CFA station for Huntly or supporting local schools, this is a budget that puts Bendigo families first.
Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards
“Bendigo kids can’t get a first rate education, in a second rate classroom. That’s why we’re upgrading 8 local schools and kinders, and undertaking the important planning process for a new school for Kalianna.”
“We’re also keeping the community safe with new CFA trucks and equipment to support our firefighters and a cash boost to help fix the ambulance crisis and reduce response times.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020