The Andrews Labor Government is delivering a long-term plan that will create jobs and give people in Gippsland the care they need as we recover.

In total, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 will support an average of 38,000 new jobs each and every year over the next four years across the state – with thousands of them in rural and regional Victoria.

This includes the Labor Government’s once-in-a-generation $3.8 billion reform to build a new mental health system from the ground up, as the Mental Health Royal Commission’s recommendations are implemented.

Right now, too many people in Gippsland have to travel away from their families and communities for care.  It’s why this Budget will transform the way support is offered in regional Victoria – with more care in regional communities, more early intervention, more focus on wellbeing and prevention, and a new dedicated system for our kids.

This includes delivering the first 20 of between 50 and 60 new local services, providing a ‘front door’ for care embedded in communities – including our first fast-tracked sites in the Latrobe Valley, as well as Benalla and Greater Geelong.

We are investing $17.4 million in sub-regional follow-up care across the state – in Bairnsdale, Central Gippsland and West Gippsland.

The Budget invests $141 million for five new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Units, including one in Gippsland. This investment will deliver sub-acute care and 50 new beds across the state, with support tailored to the needs of our young people.

Not only will we build the mental health system Victoria needs – we’ll also be supporting around 3,000 jobs. From nurses, to doctors, allied health and support staff, these new roles will make sure Victorians get the support they need, while also giving thousands more Victorians the security of a job.

This year’s Budget also includes $1.2 billion to protect our children and help keep vulnerable families together. This investment will deliver 246 new child protection practitioners, more support for our carers and bring family services into schools, early childhood education and community health hubs to identify at-risk families early.

Victim-survivors of family violence will receive improved support, with the expansion of our network of specialist family violence courts to the Latrobe Valley. These courts are specially designed to make attending court a less daunting confronting experience for victim-survivors, including separate entrances and exits, safe waiting areas and dedicated space for children.

As well as improving the lives of Victorian children and families, this funding will also support around 1,000 jobs across our state.

This year’s Budget delivers on our promise to introduce kinder for every three-year-old child. Having begun its rollout out in select regional communities first – including South Gippsland – $167 million will see this support delivered across regional Victoria, reaching every local government area for the very first time.

Offering at least five funded hours a week from next year, the program will be scaled up to deliver 15 hours a week for families by 2029. It’s not just great news for kids – families will save $1150 on average, while an extra 6000 roles for qualified early childhood teachers and educators will also be created.

Regional Victorians value their waterways and protecting our native water species, supporting local tourism and healthy local communities. That’s why this Budget invests an overall package of $24.5 million for the restoration of waterways and catchments in Victoria including the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet.

Since we came to government, our big infrastructure build has delivered the road, rail, schools and hospitals Victorians need – and has created, or will support 177,000 jobs.

This year’s Budget continues that work, with $986 million to build 25 new X’Trapolis 2.0 trains, supporting 750 jobs. Major works will be done in Ballarat, supporting jobs in manufacturing and supply chains across our state.

We’ll keep investing in our kids’ future with $3.5 billion in education, including $148.2 million to establish the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership, furthering our teachers’ professional development. This includes new regional academies Bairnsdale and Moe – two of seven new regional academies across the state.

We’re providing $1.6 billion to continue our massive school building blitz that is expected to support around 3,500 jobs – investing in local kids and backing local workers.

The Labor Government is upgrading 52 Victorian schools in this year’s Budget – including 17 in regional Victoria – with four in Gippsland:

  • $7.27 million for Orbost Secondary College
  • $10 million for Traralgon (Stockdale Road) Primary School
  • At least $22.1 million for Drouin Primary School
  • $3 million for Sale College

This Budget will also provide additional funding for Tech Schools in Gippsland, Monash, and the Yarra Ranges. This initiative will expand on‐site and virtual delivery capabilities of existing Tech Schools and pilot a mobile Tech School delivery model for students in remote areas of Gippsland.

This Budget invests $277 million to put student mental health, health and wellbeing at the centre of our school communities. That includes $200 million for a new School Mental Health Fund – rolling out in regional Victoria first and enabling schools to introduce new support and programs, based on the needs of their kids.

The Mental Health in Primary Schools pilot will be expanded to include 100 schools, putting a Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator in every participating primary school and supporting 100 jobs.

And because we want to make sure Victorians have the right skills to be ready for these jobs, we’re investing $384 million in our skills sector, including 12,200 extra subsidised training places in our TAFE and training system.

This includes $86 million to establish the brand-new Victorian Skills Authority, a new anchor organisation that will drive reform of our skills sector and help support more Victorians find work.

As we continue to recover from the pandemic, this Budget delivers $7.1 billion to continue supporting our hospitals and healthcare system. This includes a further $1.3 billion to continue our public health response to COVID-19.

As part of this, $2.4 million will go to boosting capacity at critical local women’s health services in Gippsland and other parts of regional Victoria.

An investment of $1.2 billion from the Labor Government will continue our build and upgrade of local hospitals and health services. This includes delivering on our election commitment to build and expand 10 community hospitals including on Phillip Island and in Pakenham.

These community hospitals will give local families confidence the very best care is available close to home and support around 1,550 jobs at the peak of construction.

Some $129 million in regional development and agriculture investments will deliver local solutions to local problems, and advance a 10-year plan to strengthen agriculture in Victoria and the 77,000 jobs that it supports.

This includes a $10 million investment in a Morwell Food Manufacturing Precinct that will provide crucial services and better access to fast-track development of the site, which is forecast to support up to 1,700 ongoing manufacturing jobs when up and running.

Victoria has built a reputation across the globe for high-quality produce – the Budget will further boost our standing by investing $11.7 million to strengthen agriculture traceability systems and protect Victorian jobs.

The Budget also invests $6.4 million for the Victorian Fruit Fly Strategy, which will be released next month, and $19.9 million to fast-track the agriculture sector’s response to climate change.

Regional Partnerships continue to play a critical role in helping develop opportunities and overcome challenges in our local communities. An investment of $5.1 million will further strengthen Regional Partnerships so they can continue to elevate regional voices, insights and issues.

Since its establishment in 1986, the Victorian Rural Women’s Network has supported women who are finding new and innovative ways to grow and improve their communities. This year, we are providing $1.4 million to continue the network’s important work.

Across our investments, this Budget supports an average of 38,000 new jobs every year over the next four years. More than numbers on a page, that means 38,000 new opportunities for Victorian workers. And with it, certainty and security for tens of thousands of Victorian families.

That means not only will our investments deliver the support and services our state needs, we’ll be getting Victorians back to work to make it happen. With this Budget, we’re creating jobs and caring for Victorians.

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing:

“This is a once-in-a-generation Budget that builds on our record investment in Gippsland and ensures that more people across the region get the mental health support, treatment and care they need, closer to home. It also invests in education, skills, and training to create pathways into employment and to drive the economic growth and recovery of our region.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett:

“These investments deliver the jobs, infrastructure and services communities across Gippsland need as we recover and rebuild.”