New skills, good jobs, more schools, better roads in South-West Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government is getting things done, investing in the big projects that South-West Victoria 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 Derrinallum P-12, Lismore Primary, Mortlake P-12, Hawkesdale P-12, Heywood District Secondary, Warrnambool West Primary and Warrnambool Special Developmental School.

South-west Victorian families with kids at kinder will also benefit from $3.6 million to support children in the Wimmera South West region get the most out of kindergarten and boost school readiness.

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.

A further $50 million will boost the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund – a fund that is upgrading hospitals and health facilities in places such as Port Fairy and Heywood – 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 $73 million set to be spent in South-West Victoria 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 Henty Highway and the Glenelg Highway as well as dozens of other roads in need of repair.

The Budget also includes $39.9 million to upgrade the Princes Highway West between Colac and the South Australian border and there will be major works to vital connections like the Hamilton Highway, which will be upgraded between Geelong and Cressy to improve safety and traffic flow.

Key roads between Barwon Downs and the Great Ocean Road will also be upgraded including Birregurra-Forrest Road, Forrest Apollo-Bay Roads and Skenes Creek Road.

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 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 a share of $153.2 million to start delivery of stage 2 of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan in partnership with the Federal Government, who will be asked match this as part of a City Deal.

This next stage of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan includes a Glenample Visitor Experience Centre, a shuttle service between Glenample and Loch Ard and infrastructure improvements to the Twelve Apostles National Park. The project is also expected to attract significant private sector investment in nearby towns.

The Labor Government is 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 Western Victoria Gayle Tierney

“Whether it’s rebuilding TAFE after decimation by the Coalition or delivering on the Shipwreck Coast’s potential, we’re getting things done. This is about boosting jobs and ensuring the region remains a great place to be.”