Tuesday, 1 May 2018

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

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 delivers $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 and more than ever, the skills required for these high-demand jobs are learned at TAFE. 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 and get these good jobs, with $304 million to open new classes and fund more than 30,000 new training places and TAFE campuses in regional Victoria will be upgraded to give Victorians the best facilities to learn their trade, with $25 million for a new Federation Training campus at Port of Sale and $35.5 million to transform Federation Training’s Morwell campus.

More young people will be able to get a trade and go straight into a job with 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.

An extra $44 million will also update learning materials, introduce independent assessments and bring back trade papers to make sure our apprentices are trained to the same high standards with recognised qualifications.

Because every family, in every community, should have a good school close to home, this Budget includes $181 million to build, plan and upgrade 60 regional schools.

Local schools to benefit include Boisdale Consolidated School, Orbost North Primary, Orbost Secondary, Kongwak Primary and Tarwin Valley Primary. There is also $6 million for Stage 1 of the Traralgon Education Regeneration Project to deliver modern infrastructure for Latrobe Special Developmental School and Traralgon College.

This comes on top of the recently announced funding of $32.5 million for the rebuilding of Wonthaggi Secondary College to create a state of the art new campus with specialist facilities for visual arts, graphics, materials technology and science.

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. This investment will also see additional rehabilitation facilities established in Geelong, Gippsland and Hume.

We’re also making sure that every Victorian patient gets the care they deserve, with $115 million to expand the Wonthaggi Hospital with a new operating theatre, upgraded inpatient rooms and modern emergency department.

A further $50 million will boost the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund – a fund that is upgrading hospitals and health centres in towns such as Bairnsdale and Sale – 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 our regional road network. This will enable the biggest road maintenance blitz our state has ever seen with $66 million set to be spent in Gippsland and a dedicated country roads body, Regional Roads Victoria.

As part of the unprecedented road work blitz, urgently needed repairs will be carried out on sections of the Princes Highway East and the South Gippsland Highway as well as dozens of other roads in need of repair.

Gippsland will also see important upgrades to vital connections including a new dual lane roundabout to be built at the intersection of Phillip Island Road and Back Beach Road on Phillip Island to improve safety and traffic flow.

This year’s Budget also includes $704 million to give Victorians in regional areas more reliable public transport, including funds to provide extra stabling and maintenance, alongside the important design work and pre-procurement for the next generation of VLocity trains.

Businesses in Gippsland will benefit from additional payroll tax cuts. The regional payroll tax rate will be 2.425 per cent – half the metropolitan tax rate and the lowest rate in the nation – helping local businesses expand and growing local jobs.

The Budget includes $102.7 million for the Hydrogen energy supply chain pilot that seeks to demonstrate a viable low-cost, low-emission supply chain for exporting hydrogen energy to Japan using the Latrobe Valley’s brown coal. This pilot is being undertaken with the support of the Victorian, Commonwealth and Japanese Governments.

The Labor Government is also listening to regional Victorians, delivering almost $760 million for local priorities identified by our Regional Partnerships. This includes $700,000 to implement a Gippsland food and fibre taskforce.

Local sporting clubs also benefit with $3 million for Moe and District Netball Association to kickstart the development of a new netball precinct and $600,000 for Drouin Netball Club to update their courts.

The Labor Government is also investing a further $11 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 in 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 big projects that regional Victoria needs and the people we need to deliver them.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“This budget continues our record investment in Gippsland’s future – upgraded schools, roads fixed and the funds our TAFE system needs as we rebuild it after it was decimated by the Coalition. This is getting things done.”

“We are also investing in local health including the rebuilding of Wonthaggi Hospital and a record investment in mental health services – all of these initiatives will support Gippsland communities to grow and thrive.”