Premier media release 27 April 2016.
The Victorian Budget 2016/17 is all about delivering on the things that Victorians need the most: good hospitals and schools, reliable roads and public transport, and secure jobs in growing industries – in Melbourne and across regional Victoria.
Victoria’s economy is growing – and it’s in safe hands. With this Budget, our triple-A credit rating will be maintained and 3 per cent growth is forecast. Unemployment is falling, and infrastructure investment will rise to an average $7.4 billion a year. The Budget confirms an operating surplus of $2.9 billion and cuts payroll tax to help businesses grow.
Under the previous Liberal Government, four years went by without meaningful investment in the infrastructure projects our state needs. By comparison, in this Budget, the Andrews Labor Government is funding the biggest overhaul to our public transport system in history.
The centrepiece is the new Metro Tunnel: a nine-kilometre rail tunnel under the CBD that will transform our public transport system and end train congestion in the City Loop. The Budget funds it in full, because this project cannot wait.
All up, the Budget provides more than $1.9 billion dollars of new investment to grow our metropolitan public transport services, and more than $1.3 billion for better regional public transport. This includes:
Work will start on some of the most important road projects in suburbs and cities across the state.
The Budget provides $7 billion for road projects including duplicating Yan Yean Rd and Thompsons Rd, building the Western Distributor, upgrading the Monash Freeway, streamlining Hoddle Street, and for other projects to improve road safety and reduce congestion.
In regional Victoria, $107 million will be invested to build the Drysdale Bypass. The Budget also includes $130 million to repair unsafe and deteriorating road surfaces, $51.6 million for regional highways and $52 million to improve traffic flow and safety on some of the smaller local roads that people use every day.
More than 112,000 jobs have been created since the Andrews Labor Government came to office. We’ve made a great start, but there’s more work to do.
We’re bringing the best global talent and attracting the biggest international companies to our shores. This includes $116 million for investment attraction and assistance, $66 million to expand our network of Victorian Government Business Offices, and $34 million to promote Victorian tourism and business to the world.
We are making Victoria a more competitive place to do business, by cutting red tape and reducing the tax burden. By increasing the payroll tax threshold to $650,000, up to 36,000 Victorian businesses will pay less tax. The wages of a displaced apprentice or trainee will also be exempt from payroll tax from 1 July 2016, and streamlined, smarter planning processes will stop red tape getting in the way of new jobs.
The Budget also provides $111 million to help Victoria take advantage of the six fast-growing industries that will define our economic future. $33.8 million will be invested in a landmark strategy to drive jobs in our creative industries, and $31.9 million will strengthen Victoria’s position as the leading destination for international students.
Regional Victoria is the big winner from the Budget. Regional communities will benefit from a $325 million jobs package, supporting the growth of the tourism industry, improving water security and infrastructure, boosting marketing programs, backing the strength and confidence of the Latrobe Valley, and turbocharging the growth of future industries across the state.
Workers in industries that are undergoing transition deserve certainty. That’s why the Government will establish Jobs Victoria, a $53 million project to bring the state’s employment programs into one system.
All jobs start with skills. The Government’s $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund reopened closed campuses across Victoria, and a $116 million plan to introduce 10 new Tech Schools, funded in this Budget, will give secondary school students a head start for a hands on education.
Students can’t get a first-rate education in a second-rate classroom, and the Government is investing $924 million to upgrade schools in poor condition, build new schools in growing areas, provide emergency relocatable classrooms to alleviate short-term pressure and remove asbestos from school buildings.
The Budget delivers a record $2.45 billion boost to our health system. This includes $169 million to redevelop Shepparton’s deteriorating hospital and $61.3 million for major works at Footscray and Sunshine hospital.
A $335 million boost marks Australia’s largest-ever one-off investment to tackle the elective surgery waiting list, and a $28.5 million package will help sick kids access life-changing medicinal cannabis medication as soon as possible.
The Government is also taking action on family violence – our number one law and order issue. A record $572 million investment is the first step towards a long-term solution, and it will cater for more housing, refuges, programs, counsellors and support for women and children, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Work will also start on a 10-year Victorian Family Violence Plan.
The Budget also supports the police who keep us safe by boosting the capacity of the force with an extra $596 million for more police officers and specialists, new, state-of-the-art equipment and upgraded stations.
Quotes Attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“This Budget reflects a strong and confident Victoria. We’re keeping our word, and delivering our election commitments.”
“We’re overhauling public transport, investing in roads, fixing schools and hospitals and we’re cutting taxes for businesses – we’re getting it done.”
Quotes Attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas
“This Budget is about jobs. From tech schools for teenagers to TAFEs for all ages, from jobs in new industries to more support for farms and manufacturing, Victoria will be Australia’s engine room of job-creation once again.”
“For the first time in more than a decade the tax-free threshold for payroll tax has been lifted, delivering a tax cut for approximately 36,000 Victorian businesses.”