Coalition Government delivers regional infrastructure boost
From the Deputy Premier
Coalition Government delivers regional infrastructure boost
The Victorian Coalition Government’s 2012-13 Budget continues building on the strength of the regions by strongly investing in key areas of infrastructure and frontline services in challenging economic times.
Today the Victorian Coalition Government also released the first-ever regional and rural Budget Paper.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the 2012-13 Budget was about driving economic activity, productivity and jobs.
“This Budget sets out a clear plan to meet our challenges and position Victoria to take full advantage of current and future opportunities,” Mr Baillieu said.
“It’s about investing in record state infrastructure spend, enhancing frontline services and taking new measures to protect the most vulnerable Victorians.”
Mr Baillieu said the Budget delivered major investments in key transport infrastructure, agricultural research and development, better hospitals and schools and community safety initiatives for regional Victoria.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said regional Victoria accounted for around one third of Victoria’s exports and a quarter of the State’s economic output, and boasted significant competitive strengths, including quality food and fibre production, a highly skilled workforce and liveable communities.
“With these strengths, regional and rural Victoria is well positioned to take advantage of growing Asian markets, to grow our exports, be innovative and create more jobs,” Mr Ryan said.
“We are taking a responsible and necessary approach to direct more funding into frontline services and productive areas of the economy that leverage greater investment and create more job opportunities.”
Key Budget projects include:
Barwon South West:
- $171.9 million for major periodic maintenance of the regional rail network to assist train reliability and passenger comfort;
- a multi-million dollar commitment to purchase rail carriages to improve the capacity of regional passenger services;
- $10 million over the next two years to encourage the use of rail freight and relieve road congestion;
- $20.6 million to implement the second phase of the Coalition’s Bushfire Buy-back Scheme;
- $2 million for the development of Community Fire Refuges in areas where there is no suitable Neighbourhood Safer Place location;
- $10.4 million over four years for establishment of a vulnerable persons register to help equip local councils with the resources needed to identify vulnerable people in the community for emergency situations;
- more than $35 million to upgrade Country Fire Authority stations and purchase new vehicles;
- $62.5 million to replace the most high-risk powerlines with safer technology;
- $7.3 million to review Victoria’s water legislation and co-ordinate activities under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan;
- a $50.4 million water management package which includes funding for surface water monitoring and data management, groundwater monitoring, funding to identify potential risks to water availability and minimise drought risks, and funding towards simplifying the Bulk Water Entitlements Framework.
- $93.3 million to a major upgrade of the Geelong Hospital;
- $5 million to develop a radiotherapy service for South West Victoria in Warrnambool;
- $8.3 million for regeneration of Northern bay College;
- $2.5 million for modenisation of Woolsthorpe Primary School;
- $2.1 million for planning the Lara to Avalon airport rail link;
- $2 million for renewal of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre: and
- $13.6 million for a new police station and VICSES combined facility at Waurn Ponds.
- $42.2 million to duplicate approximately 18km of the Western Highway between Beaufort and Buangor;
- $35.5 million for the Ballarat West Link Road;
- $46.4 million for an upgrade of Ballarat Hospital including a helipad;
- $10 million for modernisation of Pheonix Community College;
- provision of extra early childhood development workers;
- $1 million over three years to return the health of the Yarrowee River; and
- the extension of funding for the Ballarat office of the Department of Premier and Cabinet for another 12 months.
- a funding package of $54.5 million which includes creation of an additional 45 beds at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre;
- $22.7 million to reconstruct Charlton Hospital;
- $10 million to upgrade the Castlemaine Hospital;
- $18 million to redevelop the Swan Hill Hospital aged care facilities;
- $7 million for modernisation of Castlemaine Secondary College
- $5 million for regeneration of Golden Square Primary School;
- $5 million for regeneration of Ouyen College;
- funding for two new overtaking lanes on the Melbourne-Lancefield Road;
- a new multi-disciplinary centre for Bendigo to improve responses to sexual assault;
- the provision of extra early childhood development workers; and
- the extension of funding for the Bendigo office of the Department of Premier and Cabinet for another 12 months.
- $20 million to redevelop and expand the Kilmore and District Hospital;
- $10 million for regeneration of Wodonga Senior Secondary College;
- $5.4 million for modernisation of Belvoir Wodonga Special Development School;
- $2 million to develop chemotherapy services at Seymour District Memorial Hospital; and
- $6 million for rest area upgrades from the Hume Highway.
- $10 million for modernisation of Bairnsdale Secondary College;
- $7.5 million for modernisation of Mirboo North Secondary College;
- $10.7 million to further improve Warragul Station;
- funding for overtaking lanes on the Strzelecki and Hyland Highways;
- a new Multi-Disciplinary Centre for Latrobe Valley to improve responses to sexual assault; and
- the provision of extra early childhood development workers.
Mr Ryan said the 2012-13 Budget was shaped by the challenges of the present, but was focused on securing the future.
“We will be defined not by the challenges we face, but by the collective actions we take to address them,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was prioritising the protection of vulnerable Victorians in regional and rural areas, despite the very real and serious economic challenges facing the state.
“Funding is provided for new multi-disciplinary centres in the Latrobe Valley and Bendigo to provide greater support for victims of sexual assault and child abuse,” Mr Ryan said.
“Multidisciplinary centres will provide for co-location of Victoria Police’s sexual offences and child abuse investigative teams, child protection workers and centres for sexual assault, to deliver an integrated multi-agency response to sexual assault and child sexual abuse.”
More local community hospitals will receive funding boosts in the Budget including Ballarat, Castlemaine, Geelong, Kilmore, Warrnambool, Seymour and Swan Hill.
“All Victorians deserve access to quality health care close to home which is why we are funding upgrades and additional beds at local hospitals to provide better health care to our rural and regional communities,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Budget was taking a responsible and necessary approach to securing the future of our state by investing more than $60 million in Victoria’s future agriculture innovation and productivity to capitalise on the growing market opportunities through the Agriculture and Food Industry Plan.
“This plan focuses on research and development to improve productivity in the dairy, grains, horticulture and red meat industries, as well as an increased emphasis on biosecurity,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the 2012-13 Budget also saw the continuation of the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund as the centrepiece of the Government’s package of targeted regional programs.
“The Budget includes $125 million per year over the next four years for the Coalition’s flagship regional initiative which will continue to support major projects and locally-driven initiatives across the state,” Mr Ryan said.
“Since coming into office, the Coalition Government has already facilitated regional projects valued at almost $1 billion, resulting in the creation of more than 1,300 new jobs.”
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to supporting jobs, growth and development in regional and rural Victoria.
“Our regional and rural communities are vibrant, diverse and full of opportunities and the Coalition Government is determined to support local people in building resilience and creating a better quality of life in rural and regional Victoria.”