Premier and Minister for Regional Development media release - 2 May 2017.
The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with the job, delivering on the things that really matter to people in regional Victoria.
With $4 billion specifically dedicated to our regions, the Labor Government is making sure regional communities have the schools, hospitals, roads, transport and jobs they need.
The Budget includes:
At the heart of the Victorian Budget 2017/18 is an unprecedented investment to end family violence, with $1.9 billion to keep victims and their children safe, and to hold perpetrators to account.
This includes $448.1 million to establish Support and Safety Hubs, with regional launch sites in Barwon, Inner Gippsland and the Mallee, providing a safe place for victim survivors and their children to begin their recovery.
A further $130.3 million will go towards new Specialist Family Violence Courts, located in Ballarat and Shepparton, to increase safety and support services for victims.
The Labor Government will deliver better transport across the state, with $1.12 billion to get regional Victorians where they need to be sooner, with maintenance upgrades and work to prevent speed restrictions on our trains.
An additional $311.1 million will deliver 39 new VLocity carriages, made in Victoria, for Victoria so we can continue to increase rail services.
The Budget also includes $1.5 billion to upgrade every major commuter rail line in regional Victoria, as part of the Regional Rail Revival package.
Roads will get a boost with $260.3 million to deliver improvements on hundreds of kilometres of regional roads, connecting regional communities and keeping regional drivers safe.
The Budget confirms an additional $163 million will also go towards upgrades on the South Gippsland Highway and roads across south-western Victoria including those servicing the Port of Portland. A further $49.2 million will be invested on a package of road upgrades across the breadth of regional Victoria.
Our students will get the support they deserve, with $64.1 million to modernise and upgrade 59 primary and secondary schools across regional and rural Victoria.
And because the early years can shape a child’s entire life, we’re investing $196.7 million in our kinders to get our youngest Victorians school ready, with targeted support.
The Budget provides $2 billion to Victoria Police for more than 2 700 new sworn officers, as well as replacing and upgrading stations in Alexandra, Rutherglen, Tangambalanga, Warracknabeal, Wedderburn and Wycheproof.
Regional Victoria is being hit hard by a substance abuse epidemic. That’s why this Budget includes stage 3 of our Ice Action Plan, including $9.7 million for the planning and purchase of land for three new residential drug treatment facilities in the Gippsland, Hume and Barwon regions.
We’re investing in our hospitals with a further $2.9 billion to give every Victorian first-class care when they need it most. This includes $8.3 million to establish a new 12-bedroom mental health facility in Ballarat and $7.5 million to undertake planning and preliminary infrastructure work at South West Healthcare in Warrnambool.
This builds on the $200 million Regional Health Infrastructure Fund from last year’s Budget that is upgrading, modernising and rebuilding hospitals right across regional Victoria.
Since coming to office, the Labor Government has invested more than $1.3 billion in regional jobs growth. It’s an investment that’s working, with 22 500 new jobs created in regional Victoria in 2016.
We’ll build on this work with new government hubs in Ballarat, the Latrobe Valley, and planning for one in Bendigo to bring hundreds of jobs to these regions. We’re also extending support for former automotive industry workers including those in Geelong with $15 million for the Future Industries Manufacturing Program and the Local Industry Fund for Transition.
To help create more jobs, this Budget will also make it easier to do business in regional Victoria, with a 25 per cent payroll tax reduction. Farmers will also save money on their insurance, with duties removed on policies that insure agricultural products against damage from flood, fire and other accidental provisions.
We’re also supporting Victorian farmers, with $44.4 million to protect the state’s agriculture sector from biosecurity risks, and $21.5 million to introduce electronic identification technology for livestock to protect our clean, green reputation and the people who rely on it for their livelihood.
The Budget includes $273.3 million to implement Safer Together to reduce the impact of bushfires on Victorian communities. Activities include planned burning and greater forest firefighting capacity for the fire season.
To make buying your first home more affordable, we’re doubling the First Home Owner Grant and supporting around 6 000 regional Victorians to get into the housing market. This is in addition to our state-wide cuts to stamp duty for first-time buyers.
The Labor Government is also listening to regional Victorians, delivering $29 million for local priorities identified by our Regional Partnerships. This includes funds for the Swan Hill Riverfront Development, the Gippsland Destination Management Plan and upgrades to the Shipwreck Coast.
The Labor Government is also investing $45 million to improve digital technology and infrastructure across regional Victoria – a key priority from our Regional Partnerships.
Victoria is the sporting capital of Australia and community sport is at its heart. We’re delivering $25 million to help local sporting clubs to upgrade their facilities or develop new ones to boost sports participation.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“It doesn’t matter where you live – every Victorian deserves access to good schools, hospitals, roads and public transport. That’s why we are continuing to invest in the services and jobs that regional Victorians need.”
“This Budget delivers the things that really matter. This is a Budget that gets on with the job.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“We know that no two regional areas are the same. It’s why we’ve listened to our Regional Partnerships - the people who know their community best and delivered on what matters to local people.”