Central Victoria is a big winner in the . It’s all about jobs, with a record investment in infrastructure and other projects to create new jobs 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.
- Massive investment in public transport and roads, with more V/Line rolling stock ordered to support further Bendigo line services.
- $6.1 million to modernise, upgrade or regenerate two schools, and new Tech Schools in Bendigo and Ballarat.
- 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.
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, as well as creating jobs.
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.
More services are coming, too. $280 million will fund 27 new VLocity carriages, and $131 million will increase passenger rail services for Ballarat, Traralgon, Geelong, Shepparton, Bendigo and Warrnambool. This means that the Bendigo line will have an additional two off-peak return services every day. There will also be an extra weekday off-peak return service for the Maryborough line. The Budget also includes $2 million to undertake the detailed planning needed to upgrade the Bendigo line.
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.
Planning will commence on improvements to the Midland Highway between Castlemaine and Harcourt, as well as for upgrade options the intersection of Barry Street and Melbourne-Lancefield Road in Romsey.
The Budget 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. The Budget also provides $51.6 million to build overtaking lanes on other major highways across the state.
$151 million will be invested in modernising, upgrading and regenerating regional schools across the state. Local schools to be upgraded include Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Special School, Woodend Primary. Chewton Primary will receive funds for a special project to build school and community pride.
Jobs start with skills. The Government’s $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund has already saved campuses across the state including Bendigo TAFE. A $92 million investment in 10 new Tech Schools, including one in Bendigo, will bring a real, hands-on education into the secondary school curriculum.
Early learning gets a boost. The Government is investing $4.4 million to help struggling regional kinders keep operating 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.
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.
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 and the Huntly Victorian Emergency Management Centre will be upgraded, ensuring high quality training facilities are available to the State’s firefighters.
The Budget invests $46.6 million to support community sports and events including country football and netball clubs and creates a $20 million Regional Events Fund, to support a strong and sustainable calendar of regional events. $7 million for the Bendigo Arts Precinct will ensure Bendigo remains one of the great arts and cultural hubs of our state.
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 Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas
“Having visited Woodend Primary School and the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School many times, I know how hard teachers, staff and parents work to deliver a great education for their students.”
“Today’s announcement will mean even better outcomes as we update and modernise ageing buildings and classrooms, which the former Liberal Government ignored. We want to ensure every child has access to a great education and can achieve their potential.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“Extra funds for schools, roads and extra rail services, ensures that Central Victoria remains a great place to work, live and do business, as well as boosting local jobs.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020