Supporting regional Victoria
For our state to prosper, our regional communities need to thrive.
That means decent, secure jobs and growing industries to support growing communities.
It means high‑quality schools for local kids, and world‑class healthcare for regional families.
And it means visitors out exploring all our state has to offer – spending money in communities small and large, and boosting local economies.
Victoria’s economy is bouncing back. In regional Victoria, the unemployment rate is around a record low, at 3.2%.
Today, there are almost as many Victorians in work as there ever have been. This shows that our record investments are delivering the jobs we need in the short‑term, as well as supporting our growing state into the future.
And our strong action to protect the health of all Victorians during the pandemic helped shield regional communities from the very worst of this once‑in‑a‑century event.
But as Victorians catch up on the treatment and care delayed by COVID‑19, our health system is under more pressure than ever before.
Which is why this Budget puts the health and prosperity of Victorian families at its heart.
This Budget is putting patients first with a Pandemic Repair Plan for more staff, better hospitals and first‑class care.
We’re making the investments to help our health system meet growing demand, and ensure Victorians can access the specialist care they need.
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System told us that when it comes to mental healthcare, many Victorians don’t know where to turn, or who to turn to.
And if you live far from a major health centre, finding the care you need can mean leaving your community and the friends and family you rely on for support.
It’s why we’re building a new mental health system from the ground up – so Victorians get the care they need sooner, and closer to their homes and communities.
We’re also building and upgrading schools around the state, with a focus on special schools.
Because kids with special needs in regional Victoria should have exactly the same opportunities as every other student in the state, regardless of where they live.
And we’re transforming the way people and freight move around our state, as well as investing in the industries and technologies for the future.
We’re delivering record investment in roads and rail, including 12 new VLocity trains that will end up on the Shepparton and Warrnambool lines.
These upgrades mean regional Victorians will spend less time in the car or on the train, and more time at home with the people they love.
And these projects are creating secure, well‑paid jobs for Victorians right now.
Because this Budget isn’t simply about getting back to where we were before the pandemic – it’s about building a stronger and fairer state than ever before.
Victoria is well on the road to recovery – we are building big and we’re bouncing back.
And we’re backing Victoria’s regional and rural communities to grow and succeed.
Just as we always have, and just as we always will.
The Budget invests over $5.7 billion in regional Victoria, and regional Victorians
Our Pandemic Repair Plan
The last two years have really knocked our health system around.
This includes in our regional communities – where health services did their best to keep up with the demands of a pandemic.
And regional population growth means those demands are only increasing.
Emergency departments have had to handle a sharp increase in critical COVID‑19 patients, and healthcare workers have had to miss work because they or a loved one got sick.
When we came to government, we put an end to the war on our paramedics, and we took ambulance response times from the worst in our history to the best.
As patient numbers and COVID‑19 cases increased, we worked alongside our nurses, doctors and paramedics – with a clear plan to ensure Victorians get the healthcare they deserve.
Now, just like we have done during the pandemic, we’ll ease the pressure on our hospitals and healthcare workers by putting patients first.
This is what our Pandemic Repair Plan for more staff, better hospitals and first‑class care in regional Victoria is all about.
This Budget gives a boost to our health system, including:
- A record investment in surgical capacity across the state, to give Victorians the specialist care they need before they end up in the emergency department
- Increasing the capacity of Triple Zero call‑takers and dispatchers, and recruiting and training more paramedics to support our state
- $1.3 billion to continue to deliver mental health reform, building on previous record investments
- $698 million for the Better at Home program to boost home‑delivered and virtual care capacity. We’re also piloting a virtual clinic model to help Aboriginal Victorians to access care on country
- Training and hiring up to 7,000 new healthcare workers, including 5,000 nurses, to help relieve pressure on the system and improve care for all Victorians.
Better health, closer to home
Victorians in regional communities deserve the same quality of care as anyone in the city.
If they’re feeling sick, help should be just around the corner. If they’ve had an accident, an ambulance should arrive quickly.
And if they’re experiencing poor mental health, professional support should be there in the community they call home.
But the pandemic has put more pressure on our healthcare workforce than ever before.
And our rural and regional health services are working through a backlog of treatment and care delayed by the pandemic.
To tackle this, we’re putting the health of Victorians first – with new and expanded hospitals around the state.
This Budget invests in improved access to specialist health services for women, and a stronger workforce to support our hospitals.
It also invests in better cancer care for regional Victorians, to identify and treat cancer earlier – and save more lives.
And it will ensure that every Victorian has access to the healthcare they need and deserve, closer to where they live.
Healthcare investments in this Budget include:
- $17 million to continue palliative care in rural and regional communities
- $9 million to increase regional women’s health services and a further $2.2 million for the establishment of dedicated regional sexual and reproductive health services that will provide dedicated services for health issues such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
In Geelong in the Barwon region, we’re replacing ageing radiation equipment to deliver better treatment for cancer patients.
Our regional communities are growing.
But an increasing population means more pressure on our healthcare system.
The pandemic has reminded us of what matters most – the health and wellbeing of the people we love. And that means putting strong hospitals and local health services at the forefront of this Budget.
We’re investing $2.9 billion in health infrastructure, including investments to upgrade and improve health infrastructure across regional health services.
This Budget provides more than $500 million to deliver the Barwon Women’s and Children’s Hospital for Geelong’s rapidly growing population.
We’re making sure that the maternity, women’s and paediatric services, Special Care Nursery, operating theatres, birthing suites and Maternity Assessment and Short Stay Unit can see more patients.
We’re also investing $300 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for vital projects at rural and regional health services ranging from operating theatre refurbishments to equipment upgrades to accessible paths and ramps.
Since the Fund began in 2016, we have funded over 480 projects and with this expansion our investment will total $790 million, ensuring communities continue to be able to access high‑quality care in every corner of our state.
This Budget also means more life‑saving equipment for hospitals and upgrades across the state with:
- $35 million for the Medical Equipment Replacement Program for items like CT scanners, digital X‑ray units, ultrasounds and heart imaging equipment
- $20 million for the Engineering Infrastructure Replacement Program for upgrades to engineering infrastructure like generators, chillers, emergency lighting, nurse call systems and patient lifts.
The past two years have tested health systems everywhere – including in regional Victoria.
Right around the nation, demand for emergency services is at an all‑time high.
Our Triple Zero call‑takers and dispatchers are dealing with unprecedented call volumes.
But no matter where you live, when you call for an ambulance, you should have the confidence that one will arrive.
That’s why this Budget invests in practical and immediate measures to cut wait times, expand emergency departments and get all Victorians the help they need, when they need it most.
To relieve pressure on our emergency response systems:
- We’re investing $333 million to add nearly 400 new staff to increase Triple Zero call taking and dispatch capacity for Triple Zero services, including ambulances, and training more operators to allocate calls across the state
- We’re investing $124 million to train and recruit 90 more paramedics, enhance our fleet management system and improve rostering to put more ambos on the road while we’re unclogging emergency departments to help prevent ramping.
We’re investing $300 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for vital projects at rural and regional health services
For people living in regional Victoria, finding mental health support often means leaving home.
And if you live far from any major town or regional centre, the closest place to access specialist care and support could be hours’ drive away.
That means going it alone, without any of the friends or family you need for support.
We made a promise to Victorians that we would fix what was broken, we would save lives and build a new mental health system from the ground up.
And that’s exactly what this Budget will continue to do.
In the 2020/21 Budget, we invested $869 million to lay the foundation for a new mental health and wellbeing system, and we provided extra funding for mental health services throughout the pandemic.
This was followed by a record investment of $3.8 billion in last year’s Budget to support Victorians and implement these nation‑leading and life‑saving reforms.
This Budget builds on these investments, with $1.3 billion to take the next steps to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, including:
- $372 million to help provide the workers who will deliver these mental health reforms, and to implement the first Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy. That’s training for more than 1 500 mental health workers, including more than 100 psychiatrists, 300 psychologists and 400 mental health nurses, so they can give the very best care
- $218 million to deliver services including 82 new beds in Victoria’s mental health system and to expand in‑patient services for Victorians with eating disorders
- $65 million to deliver an electronic mental health and wellbeing record, information exchange platform, and an online portal to support mental health and wellbeing services
- $10 million for the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Facilities Renewal Fund to help acute facilities and community‑based organisations deliver the best recovery‑oriented services for Victorians.
Too many Victorians are forced to travel far from home to find specialist care.
We’re investing $62 million for upgrade works across intensive care areas of Victoria’s mental health facilities creating dedicated spaces to improve the separation of vulnerable patients, including providing for gender‑based separation. This includes works at University Hospital Geelong in the Barwon region.
And we’re expanding support for Victorians with eating disorders across Barwon to ensure they don’t have to travel to the city to find specialist care and support. This includes funding for additional psychiatrists, dieticians, social workers and nurses – and specialist outpatient treatment like family-based therapy.
For families and kids living in more remote regional areas, it can be hard to get support close to home.
This is why we’re doing more to support social connection and inclusion initiatives, to help reduce isolation.
Funding in this Budget includes:
$12 million to support group‑based parenting sessions in regional infant, child and youth area mental health and wellbeing services
$9.1 million to establish Social Inclusion Action groups in 10 local government areas, including six in regional Victoria to build on the success of local community mental health groups in these areas
$1.1 million for place‑based youth mental health programs including Youth Live4Life.
Together these initiatives will help build a mental health and wellbeing system that puts community at its heart.
Building a world-class education system
Schools are the heart and soul of regional communities.
And a good quality education is the foundation of a happy and healthy future.
That’s why we’re committed to giving every Victorian child the very best start.
We’re creating a state where every student can learn and achieve – regardless of where they live or the barriers that stand in their way.
This means ensuring our kids have world‑class classrooms, great teachers and the best resources on offer.
Every Victorian family, wherever they live, deserves a high quality school. That’s why we are investing in new schools, upgrades and improvements.
Over the past eight years, the Victorian Government has invested more than $12.8 billion to build and upgrade schools across our state.
We’ve funded doctors in schools, put mental health professionals on campus, and provided free breakfast to kids who go without it.
We’re giving our youngest Victorians the best foundation possible, delivering universal three‑year‑old kindergarten across the state.
And we’re transforming VCE and VCAL to give students access to more subjects and resources, and help them graduate into a great job and a rewarding future.
Because we’re building the Education State. For every Victorian child.
We’re creating a state where every student can learn and achieve – regardless of where they live or the barriers that stand in their way
This year, we reached a big milestone that began in regional Victoria – a minimum of five hours of kinder each week for every three‑year‑old in Victoria. This will scale up to 15 hours by 2029.
We are investing $15 million so that kids starting three‑year‑old kinder will receive a free Kinder Kit filled with plenty of books and resources to help them continue learning at home.
We’re improving outcomes for regional students with an investment of $29 million to help smaller schools share more of their resources and establish the regional blended learning hub to give students access to extra subjects and broader opportunities.
So that in‑person teaching can continue uninterrupted, $5.7 million will help us hire more support and casual relief teachers in rural and regional schools.
And to make sure disadvantaged students don’t get left behind, $4.5 million will fund targeted programs to help them succeed – such as The Geelong Project, an early intervention program delivering extra support to kids across selected schools in the Barwon area.
The Victorian Government is helping every student to realise their potential.
We heard from teachers that if they have more time to prepare lessons, plan, and mark work, their teaching will improve – that’s why this Budget will invest $779 million to recruit around 1,900 teachers. That means more time for each teacher to prepare and focus on each student and their needs.
This Budget invests in the tools we need to give young Victorians a great education, and an even brighter future.
Key initiatives include:
- $131 million for extra literacy and numeracy support for students who need it most, including individualised support for those in middle years who need help catching up
- $37 million to continue the Student Excellence Program, supporting high‑ability students to reach their full potential through more challenging study and opportunities
- $32 million for modern educational software in government schools, as well as extra training to ensure that our teachers can take full advantage of this technology
- $24 million to support the English as an additional language program, giving students who don’t speak English at home more support at school, so they don’t fall behind
- $17 million to train additional government primary school teachers as mathematics specialists including 25 positions for rural and regional teachers
- $3.7 million to support students to be cyber safe and secure learners, helping keep kids protected as they spend more time online.
Not everyone learns in the same way or wants to do the same thing when they grow up.
The new VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate is replacing VCAL – which means one certificate will give every senior secondary student more choice, and the skills they need for whatever they decide to do next.
The Budget is investing $277 million to deliver this transformation of Victoria’s senior secondary system.
This transformation includes investments such as:
- $88 million to boost the teaching workforce and support schools to hire more vocational teachers and support staff, to help students access vocational and applied learning
- $86 million to introduce an expanded offering of vocational and applied learning pathways and certificates in government secondary schools, to ensure that every senior secondary student has access to quality learning, no matter where they go to school
- $69 million to expand statewide the Head Start school‑based apprenticeship and traineeship model to support students to complete their senior secondary certificate while working towards a qualification
- $34 million to deliver more training for government school teachers to implement the new curriculum and support for non‑school senior secondary providers to transition to the new framework.
Students with special needs should have the same opportunities as every other student in Victoria.
That’s why we’re building and upgrading schools around the state, to ensure our kids have the learning environment they need to succeed.
We’re making our schools even more inclusive for students with disability and special needs with a $326 million investment to upgrade another 36 special schools, including 14 in regional Victoria.
That means since the Victorian Government took office eight years ago, every single special school in Victoria has received funding for a major upgrade.
This Budget commits $234 million to upgrade 29 mainstream schools including seven in regional Victoria.
To help better meet the needs of families, this Budget invests $1.8 billion in building new schools across Victoria and upgrading existing schools.
We’re building and upgrading schools around the state, to ensure our kids have the learning environment they need to succeed
This brings our total investment in improving and building new schools to more than $12.8 billion over the past eight years.
Because we’re committed to ensuring high‑quality schools for every child – wherever they live, and whatever their needs.
And this investment won’t just deliver great schools – it’s also helping create jobs in construction and related industries across the state.
Key investments include:
- $247 million for essential maintenance and compliance at Victorian schools and the Accessible Buildings Program
- $67 million to upgrade seven schools across regional Victoria and improve educational outcomes through world‑class classrooms and learning facilities
- $42 million to fund minor capital works and priority projects at Victorian schools.
- Hamlyn Views School
- Nelson Park School
Creating decent, secure jobs
The Victorian Government is supporting decent, secure jobs in every corner of our state.
We have cut the unemployment rate by 3.3 percentage points in regional Victoria since November 2014.
Our regional communities are powering the economy and boosting our recovery.
But this hasn’t happened by accident.
Since November 2014, our economy has generated 560,000 new jobs, including over 80,000 jobs in regional Victoria.
When the pandemic hit our shores we responded with record investment. We had a plan to create 400,000 jobs by 2025, with a target to deliver half of them by 2022.
Today, Victoria has already far exceeded our goal – with employment rising by 280,000 since September 2020. We are well on track to reach our target, growing jobs in every corner of the state.
We now want to do even more, creating more opportunities for regional Victorians to find a stable, well‑paid job so they can provide for their families and plan for the future.
This Budget continues our investments to create better hospitals, schools, roads and rail for regional Victoria, while creating jobs for regional Victorians.
Through the pandemic we backed Victorian businesses, providing more than $13 billion in COVID‑19 related support since March 2020.
Now we’re continuing to help businesses take advantage of our state’s strong economic recovery – keeping more people in local jobs.
With international borders closed, we introduced the Travel Voucher Scheme to bring Victorians to the regions to stay, eat and spend in local communities.
And as we welcome international visitors back to Victoria, we’re helping regional businesses bounce back stronger than ever before.
The unemployment rate in regional Victoria is near a record low at 3.2%
We’ve got the best of everything in regional Victoria and we’re going to showcase it to the world.
We’re supporting regional businesses with an international tourism campaign to help the visitor economy bounce back.
This Budget will support more tourism, accommodation, and hospitality jobs in every corner of the state.
New investment of $2.6 million will continue to attract a pipeline of national business events to our state – bringing visitors and investment to regional Victoria.
These events will play an important role in creating more local jobs and driving our state’s economy.
This Budget will continue to revitalise Geelong in the Barwon region, connecting retail and medical precincts to the commercial heart of the city with $2.3 million for the second laneways project.
Throughout the pandemic we supported artists on online platforms like Victoria Together and once our state reopened, regional Victoria was the focus of reviving the live music and festival scene.
This Budget continues our support with $2.9 million for live music events that benefit regional communities, providing new opportunities for regional artists and performers.
Victoria’s alpine resorts support almost 10,000 regional jobs. That’s why this Budget includes $5 million to make sure they’re sustainable and well‑managed into the future.
This Budget provides $100 million to support Victorian businesses impacted by the Omicron variant of COVID‑19 over the summer of 2021‑22, including through:
- A new statewide dining program, making it cheaper to eat a meal out while supporting regional hospitality venues
- A new entertainment voucher program, taking 25% off the cost of a visit to the theatre, live music, museums and galleries, exhibitions and other events across our state
- A new round of 150,000 travel vouchers to support regional tourism, including 10,000 vouchers just for Victorian seniors.
This Budget invests an extra $30 million for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund
Supporting regional businesses to grow means understanding and investing in what matters most to them.
Which is why this Budget invests an extra $30 million in the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. This Fund will continue to create and keep jobs in our state, grow and diversify regional economies, and create new investment opportunities for the private sector.
This Budget also includes $10 million to deliver the Business Acceleration Fund, which will cut red tape and streamline regulations to save precious time for businesses and the Victorians who run them.
This builds on the $75 million invested in the 2020/21 Budget Regulatory Reform Package, which will continue to deliver an estimated $200 million in benefits to businesses every year.
Regional Victoria’s emerging businesses and future industries will also benefit from investments in this Budget, including:
- A new $40 million Victorian Industry Investment Fund to provide grants to support rapidly growing businesses, ensuring products that are critical to our supply chains can be made here
- $10 million for the Victorian distillery industry to expand markets and create jobs
- $7 million for the Low‑Carbon Manufacturing Grant Program to help Victorian manufacturers compete globally for renewable energy components, helping support Victoria’s transition to net zero
- $4.5 million for 300 manufacturing internships so advanced manufacturing businesses can transition to a highly skilled and low carbon environment
- $2.9 million to promote Victorian food and drinks to the world, boosting this increasingly important local industry.
Every Victorian has the right to go to work, earn a good wage, and return home safe.
And no one should ever have to put a day’s pay before their health, or the health of a loved one.
Which is why the Victorian Government is working to fix inequalities facing workers in every corner of our state.
This Budget provides $246 million to fund the Sick Pay Guarantee pilot, where participants with casual or insecure work won’t be forced to choose between a day’s pay and looking after their health.
Over 150,000 Victorians in insecure work will be able to participate in the guarantee, providing up to five days’ sick pay every year at the national minimum wage in select industries.
And we’re providing $6 million to ensure the Victorian Wage Inspectorate continues to have the power and resources it needs to fight wage theft in our state.
More than $5 million will establish a support service for workers in the gig economy, as recommended by the landmark Inquiry into the Victorian On‑Demand Workforce.
Bringing the Commonwealth Games to our regions
Big sporting events bring Victorians together.
And there’s no better place to hold the 2026 Commonwealth Games than the home of Australian sport – Victoria.
These Games will be unlike any before in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
They will support hundreds of jobs for Victorians and promote regional Victoria to the world.
For the first time, the Games will be hosted across Victoria’s regions – with regional hubs, including in Geelong in the Barwon region.
Other regional towns and cities are now able to register their interest in hosting activities as part of the Games.
The regional hubs will host athletes, officials and fans following an Opening Ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, using Melbourne as the gateway to regional Victoria.
Victoria 2026 will also invest significantly in community infrastructure, including housing and world‑class sports facilities.
This will leave a legacy of affordable housing for the regions and modern sports infrastructure to encourage Victorians to get active and attract future major events.
That’s why this Budget includes funding of $2.6 billion so Victoria is ready to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
The Games will support hundreds of jobs for Victorians and promote regional Victoria to the world
Beyond the field of play, Victoria 2026 will put on a show for Victorians and visitors alike – pulling out all the stops to feature cultural festivals, local business and great entertainment.
Tourists – and their dollars – will be welcomed across regional Victoria, with events and activities for the community, with the Queen’s Baton Relay to traverse the regions in the weeks leading up to the Opening Ceremony.
Victoria will deliver a world‑class Commonwealth Games that leaves a lasting legacy for our state.
And we will show the world everything that regional Victoria has to offer.
Getting Victorians home sooner and safer
This Budget transforms the way people and freight move around our state.
We’re investing in road and rail across the state – and building new VLocity trains right here in Victoria, helping to create more local jobs.
And we’re upgrading and maintaining regional roads so that Victorians can get home sooner and safer.
This Budget invests in infrastructure, rolling stock, planning and maintenance of Victoria’s regional rail network.
Key investments include:
- $250 million to deliver 12 new VLocity trains. The new trains will be manufactured in Victoria, supporting local employment and supply chain jobs – and improving passenger experience on the regional network
- $248 million for a package of V/Line organisational improvement projects to support the reliability and efficiency of regional passenger rail operations, and major periodic maintenance and routine maintenance works on freight rail corridors across the state
This Budget will deliver improved and more accessible bus services for communities right around Victoria, including:
- Better services for bus routes between Torquay and Armstrong Creek to Geelong in the Barwon region
- Accessibility and amenity upgrades at 80 bus stops across the state
- New and uplifted school bus services across Victoria’s growth areas.
Regional Victorians know better than most the importance of safe roads.
Which is why this Budget is investing $101 million in regional road upgrades. These works include intersection upgrades, new overtaking lanes and new roundabouts on key regional roads and highways.
Safe roads are well‑maintained roads, and since 2014, we have invested $4.4 billion to expand the regional road network, improve safety and deliver critical maintenance work.
Which is why the Victorian Government is spending $780 million in 2022/23 on road maintenance works across the metropolitan and regional road network.
Work includes routine maintenance, road resurfacing and bridge strengthening – ensuring our roads will be safe and sound for decades to come.
Any death on our roads is tragic and that’s why this Budget includes $263 million to continue to deliver Victoria’s 2021‑2030 Road Safety Strategy and the first three‑year Road Safety Action Plan.
This Budget invests $101 million to upgrade regional roads in every corner of the state.
Regional road upgrades
Our regional road upgrades in the Barwon region include:
- Bellarine Highway at Moolap Station Road, Moolap, intersection improvements
- Six Ways, Lara, intersection upgrade
- Barwon Heads, Black Rock and Staceys roads intersection, Connewarre, roundabout construction
Building strong communities
Every family deserves the chance to get out and kick a ball, go for a run, walk the dog or enjoy our great local parks.
And as regional Victorians spend more time outdoors with the people they love, this Budget invests in creating and improving local community spaces.
Regional Victorians will benefit from $88 million in grants to deliver new and upgraded community sport and recreation projects.
Important funding for the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund, Female Friendly Facilities Fund and Country Football and Netball Program will be continued.
And this Budget will help Victorians get out and explore their own backyard, supporting regional economies and creating more local jobs, with initiatives including:
- Protecting and improving Victoria’s heritage and tourism sites including $4.5 million for works at lighthouses at Cape Otway in the Barwon region.
Victoria’s natural environment supports regional industries, creates jobs and attracts visitors from around the world.
This Budget invests in the protection of our state’s parks, coastlines, trails and natural resources – to preserve them for future generations.
Over the past eight years, the Victorian Government has invested $2.2 billion to protect our environment.
And every day, our investments in renewable energy push Victoria closer to net zero emissions by 2050.
This Budget builds on this landmark investment, providing an additional $215 million to protect our environment so it can be enjoyed by generations of Victorians to come.
Investments in this Budget include:
- $17 million to better protect our beautiful marine and coastal environment for the community, addressing critical erosion and flood risks, protecting marine and coastal assets and supporting the adaptation and resilience of coastal communities
- $5.3 million for wildlife protection, including koala management programs for overabundant populations, health checks and fertility controls
- $1.8 million to support shared biosecurity action between the community, industry and government.
Funding is also provided to assist community recovery from storm and flood events in 2021, including ensuring roads and crossings on public land are safe, and strengthening Victoria’s energy security.
Victoria’s Big Housing Build
Having a place to call home is about so much more than just a roof over your head.
It allows you to hold down a decent job, or to study and get a good education.
It means being able to start a family of your own and create a great future for your kids. And it means security, opportunity and belonging to a community.
A home forms the foundation of a better life, and we are so proud to offer thousands of Victorians the chance to achieve exactly that.
In the 2020/21 Budget, we invested a record $5.3 billion to deliver more than12,000 new homes – including $1.25 billion for regional Victoria.
More than 1,150 houses have been tenanted or are ready to be tenanted since the commencement of the program, including 380 new homes across areas of regional Victoria.
The Government intends to work with the community housing sector to make available a further $1 billion in low interest loans and government guarantees to community housing agencies to deliver social and affordable housing.
This is expected to create up to 6,000 new social and affordable houses, providing accommodation for some of our most vulnerable Victorians.
Local communities should have a say in the projects and programs that matter to them.
That’s why, in this Budget, we’re giving regional Victorians more input into how we can improve local areas, community programs and local infrastructure:
- With more Victorians moving to the regions, the Living Local, Shopping Local and local community grants programs will provide $5 million for grants to support our growing regional towns with projects to make communities better places to live
- An investment of $3.5 million will continue the Victorian Cross Border Commission, to reduce the barriers regional border communities face when accessing services and programs
- The Country Women’s Association will also receive funding to continue their proud history of helping women, children and families across regional Victoria – particularly those experiencing hardship or disadvantage.
The foundation for a fairer Victoria starts with a fairer future for our First Peoples.
We’re continuing to support preparations for our nation‑leading treaty process with an investment of $151 million.
Other initiatives include:
- $36 million to protect culturally significant Aboriginal Victorian sites
- $3.9 million to support returning water to Traditional Owners for cultural, spiritual and economic use
- $2.8 million to deliver a Certificate IV in Teaching a First Nation’s Language to help increase the number of Aboriginal language teachers in Victorian classrooms
- $947,000 for Aboriginal community events that foster greater public awareness of Victorian Aboriginal culture and history
- $350,000 to support and facilitate engagement and relationships between local governments and Aboriginal communities.
Devastating bushfires, floods and natural disasters have highlighted the need for better prepared, connected and resourced emergency services in our state.
This Budget ensures the safety of regional Victorians by boosting the state’s emergency capabilities and bushfire resilience, with investments including:
- $42 million for Victoria’s emergency response workforce and fuel management program
- $26 million for maintenance of VICSES facilities and replacement of vehicles reaching end‑of‑life, and extra support for volunteers to deal with complex people and behaviours. And a further $2.7 million to deliver VICSES volunteer training and professional development programs
- $25 million to replace and renew critical bushfire emergency assets and resources such as heavy plant and machinery
- $10 million to deliver energy resilience solutions such as microgrids to targeted locations that are exposed to power outages due to bushfires and extreme weather
- $9 million for CFA stations and Victorian Emergency Management Training Centres to support better gender diversity and inclusion, including new changing facilities
- $2.8 million for marine search and rescue units to purchase digital radios and access the Victorian Radio Network to ensure coordination with other emergency services and to undertake essential fleet maintenance
- $2.4 million to continue to support the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program for the Victorian community to reduce the risk of powerlines starting bushfires.
The Victorian Government is investing $9.2 million to continue the therapeutic court program.
An investment of $20 million will expand the Assessment and Referral Court (ARC), including at the Geelong Magistrates’ Courts in the Barwon region.
The ARC provides intensive support and supervision to people with a mental illness or cognitive impairment and helps address underlying factors that contribute to offending.
This Budget will deliver more police with more resources and more of the fit‑for‑purpose modern stations they need to keep protecting Victorians.
This means $342 million for an additional 502 police and 50 PSOs over the next two years to meet the growing needs of the state, building on the 3,135 new police officers already on our streets thanks to the Victorian Government’s record funding for Victoria Police.
Reviewed 02 May 2022