Getting It Done For Ballarat

27 April 2016

Ballarat is a big winner in the Victorian Budget 2016/17External Link . It’s all about jobs, with a record investment in infrastructure and other projects to create new jobs in the regions and help workers gain a foothold in the fast-growing sectors that will define Victoria’s economic future. The Budget includes:

  • $325 million for infrastructure and services. This will include $4.2 million for the Ballarat Innovation Lab and Digital Space, which will bring ICT jobs to Ballarat.
  • A massive investment of $1.6 billion in regional transport to improve public transport and roads, including a $518 million upgrade of the Ballarat line.
  • A $101 million Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which will upgrade tourist landmarks and encourage the growth of the lucrative tourist dollar across the whole state.
  • A payroll tax cut for approximately 36,000 businesses across Victoria, with the payroll tax-free threshold lifted to $650,000 over the next four years
  • $8.1 million to modernise, upgrade or regenerate three schools, and funds for the establishment of a local Tech School.

In regional Victoria, safe and reliable transport is everything, and the Budget provides a massive investment to improve public transport and roads across rural and regional Victoria.

The Budget invests $1.3 billion to make regional rail services more frequent and reliable, and position the whole system for the longer-term expansion that our growing regions will eventually need.

A major $518 million upgrade to the Ballarat rail line will duplicate a 17-kilometre section of single track between Deer Park West and Melton and three kilometres of track west of Warrenheip. New passing loops will be built at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and near Bungaree so that more trains can run reliably and more frequently. This upgrade will allow two extra peak services for Ballarat once constructed.

Second platforms at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations will mean that passengers can board and exit trains more easily and safely, and there will be more car parks at Rockbank and Bacchus Marsh stations.

The $280 million investment in 27 new VLocity carriages, alongside $131 million for increased passenger rail services will deliver two additional off-peak return services for Ballarat. There will also be an extra off-peak return service each weekday for the Maryborough line.

The Labor Government will partner with Graincorp and invest $8.5 million to upgrade and build new train loading infrastructure and sidings facilities along the soon to be upgraded Murray Basin Rail network. This will mean an additional 500,000 tonnes of grain per year can be transported by rail, taking trucks off our roads and delivering lower transportation costs to farmers.

The Budget provides $260 million to repair unsafe and deteriorating road surfaces across regional Victoria. Further investment will fund measures such as flexible road barriers and centre line upgrades.

The Budget also funds $427 million in road safety upgrades, most of which will be invested in regional Victoria, as well as a $52 million package of works for the smaller, local roads that people rely on every day, plus $51.6 million to build overtaking lanes on other major highways across the state. This includes $10 million for the Midland Highway between Bannockburn and Meredith.

$151 million will be invested in modernising, upgrading or regenerating existing regional schools. Local schools to receive an upgrade include Ballarat Secondary, Bacchus Marsh College and Mount Clear College.

Jobs start with skills. The Government’s $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund has already saved campuses across the state. A $92 million investment in 10 new Tech Schools, including one in Ballarat, will bring a real, hands-on education into the secondary school curriculum, for students that want a head start on their career.

Early learning gets a boost. The Government is investing $4.4 million to help struggling regional kinders keep operating, $3.8 million to support occasional childcare services in rural areas, and $133 million to make sure parents can access free Maternal and Child Health services.

The Budget invests $2.9 billion in our health system, so families in rural and regional Victoria have hospitals and services they can rely on. This includes $200 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund and $6 million for a new 18-20 bed drug and alcohol facility in the Grampians region. Other investments include $132 million for clinical mental health services, $57.3 million to support vulnerable children and their families, and additional funding to confront the ice crisis.

It’s a fact: there are higher rates of family violence reports in regional areas, and the Budget invests $572 million to implement the initial response to the Family Violence Royal Commission, including a housing blitz and more support for specialist services.

Country police deserve our support, too. The Budget invests $596 million in additional police, equipment, technology and services across the whole state, so police get the resources they need to keep us safe.

Regional emergency services need the best training to deal with the threat of fire. The Budget includes $80.7 million to upgrade facilities at six emergency training centres, and $74 million to boost forest fire management. A further $37.1 million will be invested to continue and expand the Emergency Medical Response Program to 35 integrated Country Fire Authority brigades.

As part of a $46.2 million package, a new training facility will be built in the Central Highlands area to replace the Fiskville Training College, ensuring high quality training facilities are available to the State’s firefighters.

Victoria is the sporting capital. The Budget invests $46.4 million for community sports and events including support for country football and netball clubs. There are also funds to promote responsible hunting and boost recreational fishing. The Budget also creates a $20 million Regional Events Fund, to support a strong and sustainable calendar of regional events.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“All Victorians deserve decent services – no matter where they live. That’s why we’re investing in Ballarat’s transport, schools and roads to deliver jobs and prosperity for this important part of our state. “

Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard

“This is the major upgrade of the Ballarat line that previous Governments have talked about but never delivered. The excuses stop now – we’re getting it done.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight

"We're getting on with making the needed investments in schools, roads and our rail network for our community to grow and prosper. This is the Labor Government delivering for Ballarat."

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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