Skilling the workers we need for tomorrow

More Victorians are in work than ever before.

Tradesperson working with a circular saw

And our sustained low unemployment rate – around the lowest we’ve seen in generations – reflects the strength of our economy.

At the same time, it means we also need to consider how a tighter labour market affects future policies and projects.

In this Budget, we have made the decision to reduce the speed of some of our biggest reforms – giving Victoria’s workforce time to build up and skill up.

Importantly, this Budget also lays the necessary groundwork to make sure we are building the future pipeline of Victorian workers we need for today and tomorrow.

Building the workforces of the future

We have already made significant investments in training our future workforce.

Across our state, Free TAFE has helped more than 170,000 Victorians. And through our nursing and teaching scholarships, we are helping train and recruit the essential workers our growing state needs.

We are supporting recruitment and training for 17,000 nurses, and have invested $32 million to encourage doctors to specialise in general practice, and almost $370 million to bolster the early childhood workforce, with scholarships, traineeships and overseas recruitment.

We are also establishing clean energy worker training centres for hydrogen and wind, and the SEC Centre of Training Excellence, to help train the workforce that will support Victoria’s transition to clean, green energy.

This Budget builds on this record investing in our future workforces, including:

  • $394 million to boost access to vocational training and Free TAFE, which now offers more than 80 courses.
  • $113 million for TAFEs, including funding to provide support services, training delivery, and help students get the most out of their training.
  • $32 million to support workers to quickly retrain or upskill with subsidised training and short courses.
  • $18 million for Jobs, Skills and Pathways Coordinators, who provide dedicated support to vocational students in our schools.
  • $16 million to deliver a new mental health graduate program in our Local Services, helping to build the pipeline of trained professionals we need.
  • $11 million to continue support for apprentices, trainees and their employers to meet Victoria’s workforce priorities.

We are also continuing to support good, stable jobs with $3.8 million to continue the Fair Jobs Code, which ensures suppliers and businesses benefiting from large government contracts treat their workers fairly.

Backing Victorian business by abolishing stamp duty

In last year’s Budget, we vowed to develop a landmark reform that transitions away from stamp duty for commercial and industrial properties.

Working closely with industry and the property sector, we have finalised a design that will see businesses benefit by about $266 million over the next four years, thanks to the abolished costs of stamp duty.

This is a $266 million property tax cut that will benefit the property industry and Victorian businesses.

It is also transformational tax reform, making it easier for businesses to set up, invest in new land and buildings, and move to new locations.

The Government will progressively abolish stamp duty and replace it with a more efficient commercial and industrial property tax payable annually from 10 years after the property is transacted. This reform is due to commence from 1 July 2024.

Loans will be available for the property’s final stamp duty, to free up capital and help businesses make the transition.

Removing stamp duty on commercial and industrial properties will enable Victorian businesses to invest, grow and create more jobs.

The reform is expected to add 12,600 jobs and will benefit Victoria’s economy by up to $50 billion in cumulative net present value terms over the next 40 years.

Backing our businesses

This Budget also backs Victorian businesses – because we understand it means backing Victorian jobs.

We’re undertaking landmark reform in this Budget – progressively removing stamp duty on commercial and industrial properties.

From 1 July 2024, thousands of Victorian businesses will start saving from tax reforms announced in last year’s Budget:

  • Gradually abolishing business insurance duty – the first state to do so – over a 10-year period, saving businesses $516 million over the next four years.
  • Lifting the payroll tax-free threshold from $700,000 to $900,000 (from 1 July 2024), and then to $1 million (from 1 July 2025) – around 6,000 small businesses will stop paying payroll tax altogether, and a further 22,000 will pay less. The payroll tax-free threshold will be phased out for larger businesses, to ensure this support is well targeted.

Together, these three reforms will save Victorian businesses around $900 million over the next four years and deliver huge economic benefits to the state.

The Budget further invests in our economic growth with:

  • $40 million for LaunchVic to continue fostering the capabilities and confidence of future innovators, creators and entrepreneurs – with Victoria home to more than 3,400 startups.
  • $9.4 million for the Business Events Fund to attract more high-profile international business events to Victoria and for implementation and enforcement of the Major Events Act 2009.
  • $2.3 million to keep backing small businesses with the advice and support they need to grow.

These investments will be further supported by the Economic Growth Statement, to be released later this year.