Victoria is home to world class makers, producers, thinkers and creators. Coronavirus (COVID-19) hasn’t changed that.
As we begin to look to the future, our State’s recovery from this pandemic will rely on supporting the industries hardest hit – and playing to our strengths.
Our Jobs Plan will build on our already significant investment in industry, making sure we’re backing local businesses and the Victorians they employ.
Breakthrough Victoria Fund
The Victorian Government will establish a $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund to drive investment in research, innovation and the next great breakthroughs over the next 10 years.
This investment will play to our State’s strengths, focusing on industries including health and life-sciences, agri-food, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and digital technologies.
By playing to our strengths, we’re protecting Victorian jobs and by exploring new innovative sectors, we’ll attract new Victorian jobs too.
The Fund will help support research and development adoption and commercialisation, supporting 15,700 jobs over 10 years.
A new long-term investment strategy will be developed, underpinned by a partnership between industry, research, philanthropic and finance sectors.
It will support projects delivered in partnership with knowledge institutes and industry stakeholders, anchored at key innovation and employment precincts, including Parkville, Arden Macauley, Fishermans Bend, Latrobe Bundoora and Monash Clayton.
Furthering medical research
Our world-class medical researchers have played a critical role in uncovering some incredible breakthroughs, and these institutions will be just as critical to our State’s economic success.
Employing our nation’s best and brightest minds, Victoria is renowned as a global leader in medical research.
This Plan provides $210 million to support the research and growth of our medical research organisations and institutes, with investments in:
- The Australian Institute of Infectious Disease, to drive research into infectious diseases and support 300 jobs within the sector.
- The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, to advance genomic medicine and achieve more accurate and more rapid care for seriously ill Victorians.
- Delivering research priorities directly related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
- Funding for a business case for the establishment of a National Centre for Inflammation, led by the Hudson Institute.
Backing our creative industries
Victoria’s creators are amongst the best in the nation. They’re also amongst the most affected during the global pandemic.
New dedicated assistance will back our creative industries and support their recovery.
The independent creative and live music industry sectors will be supported with a $9 million investment, helping them to play a critical role in our State’s recovery.
The Sustaining Creative Workers initiative will also be extended, providing extra support for independent creative workers who have lost work. This includes support for these Victorians to develop new projects, strengthen skills and connect with new audiences and markets.
Our State’s beloved cultural institutions and dynamic creative sector organisations will be supported with $94 million, ensuring they can continue to entertain and inspire Victorians and visitors for generations to come.
Creative infrastructure projects in regional Victoria will be supported with $35 million in funding, with projects including a new exhibition space at the former Kyneton Primary School, and upgrades to the Castlemaine Goods Shed, Shepparton Art Museum, Latrobe Creative Precinct, Euroa Community Cinema, Rex Theatre Charlton and development of the Torquay Multi Arts Centre.
The Budget also includes support for the local screen production industry, providing opportunities for Victoria’s 6,400 strong screen industry workforce.
The Creative State Screen Industry Recovery Package includes support for the restart of physical production of international productions, with funding of $21 million. The package supports the local production industry, and extends the existing Victorian Screen Industry initiative.
Export Recovery Plan
Exports are fundamental to Victoria’s economy contributing 12% to our gross state product and supporting Victorian jobs.
The global pandemic has highlighted the deep connection between the Victorian economy and the global economy.
Closure of international borders to personal and business travel and falling global demand has had an immediate impact on exports and our connection to global markets.
Victorian exports are projected to fall by $10.3 billion in 2020 and likely to experience a protracted recovery.
To back this critical sector within our State’s economy, the Budget delivers a $32 million Export Recovery Plan.
The Plan will provide immediate support for the recovery of exports, while beginning work on our longer-term recovery.
This includes funding for pilot virtual trade missions, establishing a Freight Stabilisation Fund and Global Gateway vouchers – supporting Victorian exporters to recover and find new opportunities and markets.
The network of Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices will also be supported, including the appointment of a new Victorian Government Special Representative for New Zealand to facilitate new partnerships in trade and investment.
These initiatives will showcase Victorian businesses to the world, create new demand for our exports – and support the thousands of livelihoods that depend on exports.
Support for international education
International education is Victoria’s largest single export.
The sector is worth $13.7 billion to our economy and supports thousands of Victorian jobs.
Necessary international border closures have meant a sudden halt to onshore international student arrivals, with education providers having to pivot to online delivery.
While a full recovery will rely on broader international developments and securing a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, the Government has acted to provide immediate support to our international students and the sector. This includes:
- $350 million for the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, including funding for capital works, applied research and research partnerships.
- Funding arrangements to provide certainty and support to Victoria’s TAFE sector and community training providers as they transition to remote and blended delivery, including $69 million in crisis support.
- $45 million for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, providing rapid support for students in financial need.
A new $33 million package will support targeted policies and programs for Victoria’s international education sector.
This includes provision for a pilot program to facilitate the return of international students, as well as funding for the Pathway to Victorian Scholarship Program, the Beyond Melbourne Education Tourism Program, and the Study Melbourne Entrepreneurship Program. A targeted international marketing campaign will also promote Victoria as a study destination of choice, for future markets.
Ongoing recovery support for Victorian business
Beyond targeted sector support, the Victorian Government will continue its vital support for businesses affected by the pandemic. This includes:
- The deferral of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year. This represents a $1.7 billion cash flow boost for businesses.
- A further $89 million in support by waiving 2021 liquor licence fees, waiving 25% of the 2020 congestion levy and deferring any outstanding congestion levy liability until March 2021, a full waiver for all 2021 vacant residential land tax liabilities that arise due to property vacancies in 2020 and deferring an increase to the landfill levy.
- An increase in the threshold for paying payroll tax on an annual basis from $40,000 to $100,000, reducing administration costs and providing $309 million in cash flow support to 7,000 businesses over the next four years.
- Grants of up to $50,000 for local business groups and chambers of commerce, to assist members to transition to COVID Normal.
- $1.1 billion in cash grants to support small and medium-sized businesses. This includes:
- $822 million for the third round of the Business Support Fund, building on the first two rounds which provided funding totalling $1.8 billion of support.
- The $251 million dedicated Licenced Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licenced venues of all shapes and sizes.
- An investment of $44 million to equip businesses to thrive in COVID Normal. This includes $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs, training and work-shops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations.
Maintaining global investment
The pandemic has had a big impact on global investment, with the United Nations estimating a potential drop of up to 40% in foreign direct investment.
To help build on this strength, the Government’s International Investment Strategy – recently updated in light of the pandemic – identifies priority sectors to pursue for inbound investment attraction.
The Plan maintains a focus on investments that play to our State’s strengths, including those that:
- Promote cooperation in research development and commercialisation.
- Address gaps in supply chains across the priority sectors.
- Strengthen our venture capital ecosystem.
- Enhance links to the global economy.
This Jobs Plan further invests in those priority sectors, including $80 million to attract global investment in health and life-sciences, agri-food, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and digital technologies.
Strengthening advanced manufacturing
Just as Victoria has a strong record in medical research, we also have a history as a leader in Australian manufacturing.
Manufacturing continues to be a major employer of Victorians across the state, supporting 289,000 jobs.
Reflecting its own proud manufacturing history, regional Victoria is home to more than 20% of our State’s manufacturing businesses.
Manufacturing is a catalyst for job growth, innovation and prosperity across the whole economy.
Manufacturing contributes $30.6 billion (6.9%) in gross value to the Victorian economy every year.
A transformational shift has seen the industry embracing new technologies, high-tech skills and new global connections providing a strong platform for growth.
In the Jobs Plan, the Victorian Government is investing in a $60 million Manufacturing and Industry Development Fund to support manufacturing capability and secure opportunities to re-shore and onshore manufacturing capabilities in Victoria, with a focus on developing key growth areas.
In a significant boost to the manufacturing sector in Victoria, the Budget also includes funding for 100 new Next Generation Trams – all made here in Victoria. This investment is set to support over 1,800 jobs in manufacturing and supply chains at the peak of production.
A trial of zero emissions bus technology will also take place in Victoria, again supporting Victoria’s manufacturing industry.
This Budget also establishes a $40 million Industry Recovery and Growth Fund, with new funding focused on facilitating private sector investment in advanced manufacturing. This includes targeted investments in high growth sectors like food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
Funding of $20 million will also go to establishing the Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre and boost jobs, innovation and investment in the medical industry.
Funding businesses of the future
The Jobs Plan will support our State’s innovators and creators with the new Victorian Startup Capital Fund.
This $61 million fund is designed to unlock private capital to support our State’s high-growth startups, develop new technology and innovation – and importantly, create new opportunities for Victorians.
The Budget also invests $40 million into the LaunchVic Accelerate initiative.
This will help to re-establish growth in Victoria’s startup ecosystem and promote entrepreneurship in regional Victoria, further supporting innovation, ideas and new jobs.
This Budget also delivers funding to inject more capital into the scaleup sector and support companies that do not meet the requirements of traditional lenders. Through a venture growth fund, the Government’s co-investment with private investors will promote high value added jobs growth for small and medium-sized enterprises, with debt that is short to medium term in nature. The venture growth fund complements the new Victorian Startup Capital Fund.
Eligible small and medium-sized enterprises claiming the Commonwealth Government’s Research and Development Tax Incentive will also have access to low interest loans for up to 80% of their forecast refundable tax offset. This will ensure Victorian enterprises maintain their cashflows to continue vital research and development work.
Backing our farmers and food producers
Victoria’s farmers feed our State.
Recognising Victoria’s farmers essential role, a new $65 million landmark agriculture strategy will develop, fund and deliver better infrastructure, new technology and greater energy efficiency on our farms.
These initiatives will save time and reduce costs for farmers – allowing them to do what they do best, putting food on the table of Victorians across the state and exporting it to the world.
The industry will also benefit from our new Breakthrough Victoria Fund, with a dedicated focus on agribusiness.
This includes establishing the Agriculture Technology Regional Innovation Network and a Pathways to Export program, as well as continuing the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan and delivering a new phase of the Food to Market Infrastructure Program.
Digital Future Now
Digital technology has been critical during the pandemic – and will continue to be critical for Victoria’s recovery.
It’s why the Government is delivering the transformational Digital Future Now investment, with $626 million in funding.
This includes a $250 million Gigabit State initiative, which will fund business-grade broadband in suburbs and regional towns across the state, supporting businesses and workers to fully participate in the emerging digital economy – wherever they live.
This includes upgrades in regional towns that currently only have access to satellite and fixed wireless services – giving them access to broadband for the very first time.
A six-year $300 million program will eradicate black spots in populated areas of regional Victoria – supporting local businesses, local economies and local communities. This investment remains subject to a co-contribution from the Commonwealth Government, which has responsibility for our nation’s telecommunications network.
Funding for a new Cremorne flagship digital hub is included in the package, with $12 million to support local businesses with their digital transition and support new local jobs.
Finally, the package includes a new $64 million Digital Skills and Jobs program to support unemployed Victorians in finding new opportunities with digital short courses and industry internships.
Reviewed 23 November 2020