This Budget is for all Victorians, in every region and community. It invests in initiatives to boost jobs and build projects in every part of the State, so that no Victorian is left behind.
The Jobs Plan will enable regions to pursue the best fit for their region, based on local strengths and challenges.
Pandemic recovery in regional and rural Victoria
The Budget continues the Government’s strong record of investing in our regions, with a focus on building the nation’s most vibrant and economically successful regional economies. It will support initiatives and stimulus projects throughout regional and rural Victoria to ensure that communities can make the most of the economic recovery ahead, particularly in areas already affected by bushfires, drought and industry transitions.
As part of the immediate response, the Government will invest $10 million in grants for short-term, immediate projects identified by communities in regional Victoria to address their urgent coronavirus (COVID‑19) socio-economic recovery needs.
These grants will focus on ensuring communities and businesses remain sustainable and are able to quickly pivot to new opportunities, assisting recovery and creating partnerships within Victoria’s regions.
The wider response will ensure regions are best able to pursue the right response for their region, based on local strengths and challenges.
To support the recovery in rural and regional Victoria and to ensure our regions are better places to live, work and invest, a funding package of $144 million will be provided to support local priorities, high potential and high value businesses, and support regional investment.
The package includes $110 million for the Economic and Community Development fund that will support priority economic and community projects that can be activated quickly, create and retain jobs and support regional economies and communities in their recovery efforts.
A further $24 million will be provided for the Regional Jobs Fund, that will support regional businesses in high-potential, high-value sectors that are seeking to develop and expand their operations.
$10 million in funding will be provided to enable regions to accelerate and develop business cases and planning for projects of strategic importance.
The Delivering for Rural and Regional Victorians initiative provides funding of $124 million over four years to ensure there is the necessary capability to meet the needs of the regions.
Rural and Regional Victoria group will be strengthened, securing its role in whole-of-government regional policy. It will implement a new contemporary approach to regional economic development which will include targeted additional support to regions that are experiencing multiple challenges and maintaining and continuing the Latrobe Valley Authority’s operations as part of the Rural and Regional Victoria group.
These functions will build resilience and economic diversity by providing support in multiple ways for regional businesses and industry to increase jobs, grow output, and improve economic diversity of local regional economies.
As part of Digital Future Now, as outlined above, the Government is providing a six-year, $X million program for the eradication of Mobile Black Spots in regional Victoria.
It represents a significant financial contribution to a critical issue for many regional and rural communities, which can potentially endanger safety during natural disasters, as well as undermining the capacity of local business to talk directly to customers and suppliers conveniently.
The Budget includes a range of transport projects for regional Victoria that will create jobs and economic activity, and provide productivity gains.
Most significantly, the Western Rail Plan funding is a major investment in the Geelong and Ballarat lines to run trains faster than 160km/h.
The Budget includes $105 million towards regional rail sustainability as well as $146.5 million for operations and maintenance, to continue supporting the reliability and punctuality of regional passenger rail services.
Additional road maintenance works ($X million) will be undertaken across regional Victoria, to replace and repair pavements, structures and transport systems such as traffic signals and electronic speed signs. These works will improve our regional road safety and promote our regional economies.
The $264.5 million Regional Roads and Freight package includes funding for Great Ocean Road infrastructure and resilience, and the Barwon South West dairy supply chain.
The Budget includes $62.8 million has been provided for the Regional Car Park Fund.
This allocation will support the delivery of car parking spaces in regional Victoria. The funding will accelerate works, stimulate short- and medium-term job creation and make it easier to travel around regional cities for work, education and health appointments.
Unlocking opportunities for growth across the State
To encourage development and improve the process and timing of projects, $59 million is provided in the Budget for systemic reforms to the planning system and the streamlining of the environment protection statutory approval process to unlock investment and support economic recovery.
This includes a new legislative framework for state significant development and private sector projects, expert advice and consultation associated with effecting legislative change, a new model for streamlined assessment of significant development proposals greater than $50 million, and a new critical infrastructure facilitation service.
The Jobs Plan includes a significant package of Regulatory Reform initiatives, creating efficiency when business deals with the public sector.
This $74.8 million package of short and longer term economic recovery initiatives includes:
- Establishing a Fast Track Review Unit to respond to business concerns regarding regulation and expedite remedial action
- A review of business licensing
- Support for local government to streamline approval processes
- A $40 million Regulation Reform Incentive Fund to facilitate reform
- Adoption of incentive-based regulation
- A new initiative to use technology to streamline approvals and digitise regulatory services
- Improving the efficiency of utility connections for greenfield housing developments
Economic recovery in Melbourne’s suburbs
Across Melbourne, significant infrastructure investments will assist in creating economic activity and job opportunities.
Local employers and training organisations will also be providing opportunities for those without work to restart in the workforce.
But there are also local steps the Government is taking to support suburban communities in recovery.
These initiatives are designed to be flexible for local needs. And they will not only create economic activity, but they will add to amenity, safety and productivity.
The $50 million in new funding for the Growing Suburbs Fund is provided to extend and expand the Fund.
This increase will boost the number of community facility projects being delivered in Melbourne’s growing interface councils, and for the first time, in six peri-urban councils.
The fund provides grants to build or upgrade community facilities such as parks, community centres, town centres, playgrounds, swimming pools and cultural facilities.
The new Suburban Revitalisation and Growth initiative provides $16 million over two years to support social initiatives and infrastructure delivery for the six new suburban revitalisation sites at Boronia, Lilydale, Noble Park, Reservoir, Tarneit and Melton. It will also continue the work of the Broadmeadows and Frankston revitalisation projects.
This initiative will support economic and social recovery of key activity centres and deliver local infrastructure and improved public spaces through local engagement and encourage co-investment and support social initiatives and infrastructure delivery at those sites.
The $62 million School and Community Safety Program will improve pedestrian and cycling safety and traffic flow on the road network. For Melbourne, this initiative includes:
- One year of funding to local government to increase road safety around schools and supervise crossings
- Temporary expansions to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure
- New and enhanced pedestrian crossings
- A shared pedestrian and cycling path linking Alphington to the Darebin Yarra Trail
Open spaces, including playgrounds and parks, will be upgraded and renewed through the $49 million Safe Public Open Spaces initiative.
Reviewed 16 November 2020