Premier media release 27 April 2016.
Regional Victoria is the big winner in the Victorian Budget 2016/17, with the highest regional infrastructure investment on record.
For regional Victoria, the Budget includes:
The Budget also funds $427 million in road safety upgrades, most of which will be spent in regional Victoria, as well as a $52 million package of works for the smaller, local roads that people rely on every day.
$130 million is provided to repair and restore road surfaces across Victoria. A centrepiece of the Budget’s regional roads package is the Drysdale Bypass – a $107 million project to reduce congestion and improve safety on the Bellarine Peninsula. The Budget funds it in full, and also provides $51.6 million to build overtaking lanes on other major highways across the state.
Across regional and rural Victoria 61 projects will receive a share of more than $200 million for upgrades, planning and land acquisition to finally give students the modern facilities they deserve.
This funding will also provide a much needed upgrade for every regional secondary school classified as being in the worst condition.
Jobs start with skills. The Government’s $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund has already saved campuses across the state, and a $116 million investment in 10 new Tech Schools, including four in the regions, will bring a real hands-on learning 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 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 include funding for works and planning in Horsham, Port Fairy and Warragul.
The people of Shepparton have been taken for granted for too long, and this Budget provides $169 million to redevelop the Goulburn Valley Health service to meet the demands of a growing population.
The Budget funds a landmark package for the people of the Latrobe Valley, with $40 million to bring in new, high-growth industries and $51.2 million to implement the findings of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, which includes funds to improve health outcomes for the local community. There is also $12.4 million to drive the transition from brown coal to renewable energy.
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, including $36.8 million to upgrade and replace rundown police stations across regional Victoria.
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 decommission the site of the former Fiskville training facility, and $74 million to boost forest fire management.
The Budget invests over $460 million to protect and expand the state’s water resources, $15 million to protect coasts against erosion and flooding, $29 million to protect threatened species, $20 million to make parks more accessible to all tourists, and $18 million to increase support for Landcare groups across the state.
Victoria is the sporting capital and regional and community sport is at its heart. The Budget invests $46.6 million for community sports and events, including support for country football and netball clubs and protecting Kardinia Park stadium. There is also funding to promote responsible hunting and a boost for recreational fishing.
Sporting and cultural events across regional Victoria attract visitors from interstate and around the world supporting jobs. The Budget creates a $20 million Regional Events Fund, to support a strong and sustainable calendar of regional events. The Geelong Performing Arts Centre gets a further $7 million for its upgrade and there is $7 million to develop the Bendigo Arts Precinct, ensuring our regional cities remain 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. “
“This Budget is all about ensuring the regions remain great places to work, live and do business.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“The record investment in transport is great for jobs and ensuring that people living in regional areas can get home safer and sooner.”
“Our ongoing dedicated regional funds will attract more people to regional Victoria and that means more jobs and stronger communities.”