Getting It Done For North-West Victoria

27 April 2016

North-west Victoria 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 in jobs initiatives for infrastructure and services, with upgrades to irrigation, water security, mobile blackspots, street scaping and important planning work for local projects.
  • 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.
  • $25.5 million for six school modernisation, regenerations or upgrades across north-west Victoria.
  • 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.

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 Andrews 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 invests $51.6 million to build overtaking lanes on other major highways across the state, and $2.2 million in partnership with the NSW Government to plan the Tooleybuc Bridge across the Murray.

The Budget also funds $427 million in road safety upgrades, most in regional Victoria, as well as a $52 million package of works for the smaller, local roads that people rely on every day.

$151 million will be invested in modernising, upgrading and regenerating regional schools. Local schools to be upgraded include Donald High, Irymple Secondary, Merbein Secondary, Red Cliffs Secondary, Warracknabeal Secondary, Warracknabeal Special School. Rainbow P-12, Robinvale College and Tempy Primary will receive funds for special projects that build school and community pride.

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 child care 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, which will contribute to the $3.5 million in the Wimmera Cancer Centre in Horsham.

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 that is gripping regional Victoria.

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. $36.8 million will upgrade and replace rundown police stations across regional Victoria, including in Murtoa.

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.

Regional communities rely on a healthy environment and a secure supply of water. The Budget invests $460 million to protect and expand the State’s water resources.

Victoria is the sporting capital. The Budget invests $46.4 million to support community sports and events, including country football and netball clubs. Funding is also provided 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 regional public transport, schools and roads to deliver jobs and prosperity for regional Victoria. “

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“Our ongoing dedicated regional funds will attract more people to regional Victoria and that means more jobs and stronger communities.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Steve Herbert

“Kids can’t get a first rate education in a second rate classroom. School upgrades across Red Cliffs, Irymple and Merbein will ensure local kids can get the education they deserve.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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