Regional Partnerships: listening and delivering for locals

Funding will flow to local projects identified by local residents, as part of the Victorian Budget 2018/19.

This year’s Budget includes $760 million to deliver on the key priorities of Victoria’s nine Regional Partnerships – the cornerstone of the Andrews Labor Government’s ongoing work to meet the needs of regional communities.

Following strong local advocacy, the Labor Government will provide $153.2 million toward the Geelong City Deal, which will build the Geelong Convention Centre and progress Stage Two of the Shipwreck Coast upgrade – key priorities for the Barwon and Great South Coast Regional Partnerships.

Across the board, our Regional Partnerships have told us that regional roads need fixing. This Budget delivers $941 million to upgrade Victoria’s regional road network and establish Regional Roads Victoria – a dedicated country roads body based in Ballarat and with staff in every regional centre across the state.

The Budget will also provide $313 million for Stage 2 of the Shepparton line upgrade to deliver faster, more reliable journeys and allow modern VLocity trains to operate to and from Shepparton for the first time.

In response to a strong push from Regional Partnerships across Victoria, the Budget also provides millions of dollars to boost tourism – including an extra $2 million to help Regional Tourism Boards and Councils grow local economies and jobs by attracting new visitors and new events.

The Labor Government will provide $500,000 to establish a Grampians Cycling Plan, identified by the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership, and $500,000 for the Murray River Adventure Trail put forward by our state’s Mallee Partnership.

Due to the support of the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership, the Budget includes $2 million to help establish a world-class Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing, upgrading the existing trail to a 57-kilometre trek connecting some of Victoria’s most scenic landscapes.

The Budget will provide $120 million to improve TAFE campuses in Bendigo, Morwell and Sale, in response to calls from Regional Partnerships to invest in skills, on top of $180.8 million to build, plan and upgrade 60 schools across regional Victoria.

The Budget will also deliver another key recommendation of the Goulburn Regional Partnership – the Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence. $23 million will go towards the purpose-built cultural and community centre, which will support education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Shepparton area.

The Loddon Campaspe Region will also be given a boost with $5 million for the Healthy Heart initiative, to improve the health of people living in the region.

More patients in Gippsland will get access to quality healthcare closer to home, thanks to a major funding boost to rebuild and expand the Wonthaggi Hospital, while nearly $50 million will boost drug and alcohol services in the Barwon, Gippsland, Hume and Grampians regions.

Victoria’s $32 million share of the $85.2 million East Grampians Water Supply Project will reduce operating costs, improve productivity and give farms the water security they need to make long-term decisions like planting more crops, buying more stock or investing in equipment.

The Budget includes $16 million for a new GovHub in Bendigo – bringing jobs and economic activity to the heart of the city and the region.

The Labor Government will also provide $760,000 to establish the Cross Border Commission – another Regional Partnership priority – to reduce regulatory requirements, help border communities share information and services, and drive economic growth.

The Budget delivers $11.6 million to reduce the digital divide – an issue raised often by our Regional Partnerships – including the Wodonga Business Innovation Cluster and Wangaratta Digital Hub.

Regional Partnerships across Victoria will share in further funding for a range of local projects including:

  • $2.8 million to expand The Geelong Project, which provides youth support at secondary schools
  • $1.7 million for the Mallee Innovation Centre
  • $1.3 million for new family violence crisis properties in Warracknabeal, Nhill, Stawell, Kaniva and St Arnaud
  • $700,000 to implement the new Gippsland food and fibre agenda
  • $500,000 for the Central Highlands Prevention Lab
  • $300,000 to develop a Hume Renewable Energy Strategy
  • $300,000 in business case funding for a Housing First Response Pilot program in the Central Highlands
  • $300,000 for a Silo Art Study to develop an arts trail, which extends along the length of the Murray River.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford  

“No one understands local needs better than local people. It’s why this Budget delivers on the priorities they told us were important.”

“These investments show we’re listening to regional Victorians and delivering for regional Victorians.”