New skills, good jobs, more schools, better roads in regional Victoria

01 May 2018

The Andrews Labor Government is getting things done, investing in the projects that regional Victoria needs and the people we need to deliver them.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 delivers more than $4.3 billion for regional Victoria, making sure regional communities have reliable roads and rail, good schools and quality healthcare.

As we build our state, thousands of new jobs are being created. We want to make sure Victorians are first in line for these good new jobs.

Skilled workers are in demand across regional Victoria – so the Budget includes the biggest training and skills investment in history. To ensure that cost never stops people from getting the right skills, it includes $172 million to make priority TAFE and pre-apprenticeship courses free – helping us fill skills gaps and get Victorians into work.

More students will be able to access this training with $304 million to open new classes and create more than 30,000 new training places. While $120 million will go towards upgrading TAFE campuses in Bendigo, Morwell and Sale, to make sure regional Victorians can get the skills they need to get a good job.

More young people will be able to get a trade and go straight into a job – with the new Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships giving students the option to undertake an additional year of high school, and graduate with an apprenticeship or traineeship, ready to work in a high demand or high growth industry.

Because every family, in every community, should have a good school close to home, this Budget includes $180.8 million to build, plan and upgrade 60 regional schools.

The funding package includes $46 million to plan and build five new school projects in some of our fastest growing regional communities, giving families certainty and peace of mind about their children’s future.

Right now, mental illness is hurting communities and leaving families heartbroken, so the Budget invests a record $705 million to give Victorians the treatment they need.

It includes more rehab beds, more mental health support workers, new and upgraded specialist facilities across the state, and the creation of six new emergency department crisis hubs.

This investment will see Barwon Health get its very own emergency department crisis hub – one of six across the state – while additional rehabilitation facilities will also be established in Geelong, Gippsland and Hume, with extra funds for the Grampians centre.

We’re also making sure that every Victorian patient gets the care they deserve, with $462 million to redevelop the Ballarat Base Hospital, including a new emergency department and day treatment centre, as well as $115 million to expand the Wonthaggi Hospital with a new operating theatre and upgraded inpatient rooms.

A further $50 million will boost the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund, to make sure regional Victorians can get the best healthcare, in the best facilities, wherever they live.

And because our regional roads are not up to scratch, $941 million will get on with the job of fixing Victoria’s regional road network. The biggest road maintenance blitz our state has ever seen, this investment will fix hundreds of regional roads and establish a dedicated country roads body, Regional Roads Victoria in Ballarat.

This year’s Budget also includes $704 million to give Victorians in regional areas more reliable public transport, including $313 million for Stage 2 of the Shepparton line upgrade. This investment will pave the way for extra services, improve reliability, as well as allowing VLocity trains to run on the Shepparton line for the first time.

A further $130 million will go towards track and signalling upgrades on the Maryborough and Ararat lines, an essential requirement for any future return of passenger services to Dunolly.

The Budget also includes $50 million to complete detailed planning for a high-speed rail link between Geelong and Melbourne, while $22 million will see extra buses and more services across the regional bus network.

New government procurement offices in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Shepparton will make sure regional businesses get more opportunities, while every business in regional Victoria will benefit from additional payroll tax cuts. The regional payroll tax rate will be cut to 2.425 per cent – half the metropolitan tax rate and the lowest rate in the nation – helping local businesses expand and grow local jobs.

The Labor Government is also listening to regional Victorians, delivering almost $760 million directly for local priorities identified by our Regional Partnerships. This includes $153.2 million for the Geelong City Deal, which means a new Convention Centre in Geelong and upgrades to the Shipwreck Coast. And $16 million for a new Bendigo GovHub to bring new jobs, and $760,000 to establish a Cross Border Commissioner.

The Labor Government is also investing a further $11.6 million to reduce the digital divide and better connect regional and rural communities – another key priority from our Regional Partnerships.

This is a Labor Budget that delivers on the things that matter to regional Victoria. This is a Budget that gets things done.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“Wherever you live, this is a Labor Budget that delivers on the things that matter – new skills, good jobs, more schools and better roads.”

“It’s an investment in the projects that regional Victoria needs and the people we need to deliver them.”

Quote attributable to Minster for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“Labor knows there’s more to Victoria than Melbourne, and our budget delivers for every corner of our state.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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