New skills, good jobs, more schools, better roads in Ballarat

The Andrews Labor Government is getting things done, investing in the big projects that Ballarat 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.

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 Ballarat High, Mount Clear College and Miners Rest Primary.

The funding package includes $46 million to plan and build five new school projects in some of our fastest growing regional communities including $17.1 million for Lucas Primary, giving families certainty and peace of mind about their children’s future.

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 see extra funds for the Grampians residential rehabilitation facility with $6.7 million provided to get this brand new facility up and running.

We’re also making sure that every Western Victorian patient gets the care they deserve, with $462 million to redevelop the Ballarat Base Hospital, including a new emergency department and day treatment centre.

A further $50 million will boost the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund, 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 $55 million set to be spent in Western Victoria and a dedicated country roads body, Regional Roads Victoria established in Ballarat.

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

The Budget also includes almost $100 million for planning and pre-construction of new bypasses on the Western Highway at Beaufort and Ararat, as well as $39.9 million to upgrade the Princes Highway West between Colac and the South Australian border.

This year’s Budget also includes $704 million to give Victorians in regional areas better public transport, including $130 million towards track and signalling upgrades on the Maryborough and Ararat lines, to improve the reliability of the regional rail network – which is an essential requirement for any future return of passenger services to Dunolly.

Ballarat workers at Alstom will also benefit from $103.5 million to purchase 30 additional X’Trapolis carriages for the metropolitan network, which helps retain high skilled jobs in Western Victoria.

The Budget includes $22 million for extra buses and more services across the regional bus network including in Ballan and Trentham.

New government procurement offices in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Shepparton will make sure regional businesses get more opportunity, while businesses in regional Victoria 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 Labor Government is also listening to regional Victorians, delivering almost $760 million for local priorities identified by our Regional Partnerships. This includes $32 million for the East Grampians Water Security project, and $300,000 to undertake a feasibility study and business case for a Housing First Response Pilot program.

The Labor Government is also investing a further $11.6 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 Buninyong Geoff Howard

“The Labor Government is once again delivering for the Ballarat region. Whether it’s upgrades for local schools, rebuilding TAFE, or fixing our regional roads, we’re ensuring the region remains a great place to live and work.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight

“Our local health workers already do a stellar job in Ballarat Hospital, and with this incredible investment they will get the facilities they need to keep doing what they do best – saving lives. This is Labor getting things done.”