Our road network is the backbone of regional Victoria, connecting communities to work, study and to each other.
We promised to continue our work fixing and upgrading our regional roads. And this year’s Budget delivers on that commitment, investing $804 million across our regional road network.
That includes $425 million to carry out maintenance across regional Victoria to improve travel times and most importantly, get regional Victorians home safely.
An additional $121 million will progress the Towards Zero 2016-2020 Road Safety Strategy, continuing our efforts to reduce the state's road toll particularly on our regional roads.
Regional rail is vital in connecting Victoria’s country communities.
Because we understand why it matters, the Victorian Government has invested $3.5 billion in regional public transport over the past four years.
That includes funding towards the $1.7 billion Regional Rail Revival, which is delivering upgrades to every regional passenger train line in the state.
With a $615 million investment, this year’s Budget continues that effort, delivering connected and reliable public transport for our regional communities, including:
- $340 million for the purchase of 18 new VLocity trains, replacing older trains on Victoria's busiest regional lines, and increasing capacity and comfort for passengers
- $195 million to deliver additional regional and metropolitan train services following the completion of major projects across our state
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 also continues our efforts to make life just that little bit easier for commuters, investing:
- $150 millionto expand car parking for commuters at some of our busiest regional and suburban train stations
- $10 millionfor more frequent bus services across Victoria
Every child in every corner of Victoria deserves the best start in life.
Through the Victorian Budget 2019/20,we’re making our positive plan a reality, delivering great local schools in communities across our state.
In just four years, we have invested a massive $956 million to build, fix and improve Victoria’s regional and rural schools.
This year’s Budget continues that commitment, investing $149 million towards schools.
Support for every student
A child’s potential should not be limited by their location, background or parents’ bank balance. This Budget invests $86.2 million to help make sure young Victorians get the most out of their education, including:
- $58 million to expand our School Breakfast and make sure more kids are learning on a full stomach. Building on the existing program, which provides free breakfasts in 500 schools across our state, the new investment will see free breakfasts, and lunches for eligible students, served up at 1,000 primary and secondary schools
Free tampons and pads in all government schools
In a national first, the Victorian Government is investing $20.7 million to provide free tampons and pads in all government schools, ensuring students can focus on their studies and helping to ease the cost of living for families.
Investing in the early years
As part of the largest early childhood reform ever undertaken in our state’s history, the Government is investing $882 million, delivering on our commitment to ensure every three-year-old has access to at least five hours per week of subsidised kinder by 2022 – increasing to 15 hours per week over the next decade.
That rollout begins in our state's rural and regional communities.
From 2020, families in Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack will be the first to benefit from this investment.
In 2021, the rollout will commence in a further 15 local government areas, at Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Hepburn, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera.
Health and mental health
Every Victorian deserves great healthcare, regardless of where you live.
We promised the people of Victoria that we would continue to build a health system that they – and their families – could rely on.
This year’s Budget delivers on that commitment, investing $160 million to ensure regional Victorians can get the best care, close to home, including:
- af additional $100 million boost to our flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund, which has already supported 283 projects across our state.
Improving quality and access to healthcare
And as more people call Victoria home, we need to make sure our hospital system is keeping up. It's why this year's Budget invests in ensuring more Victorians can access the quality healthcare they need. That includes an extra $2.3 billion to support the two million patients expected to be admitted to our hospitals over the next 12 months. The Budget also invests:
- $117 million for medical research, including the Australian Clinical Trials Network ‘TrialHub’ to increase access to clinical trials, particularly for patients living in regional and rural Victoria
- $4 million to ensure our state’s farmers can continue to rely on vital care from the National Centre for Farmer Health, an Australian-wide leader in health, wellbeing and safety
More specialist appointments
Delivering on the commitment we made to our regional communities, this Budget includes a $136 million investment to ensure every Victorian can get the care they need, closer to home. Patients in regional and rural communities will benefit from an extra 500,000 dedicated appointments with medical specialists.
Support for new parents and families
Bringing your newborn home for the very first time is one of life’s most precious moments for any parent. But it can also be extremely daunting.
It’s why the Victorian Government is delivering $214 million to ensure new parents have the support and care they – and their baby – need. This year's Budget delivers on our promise to parents.
Responding to an emergency
When we came to government, we promised to end the war on our paramedics.
And that’s exactly what we've done – investing in more paramedics, more stations and more ambulances.
This year’s Budget builds on our commitment, with an extra $191 million to meet the growing demands on our ambulance service, including services in Warracknabeal.
An additional $109 million will deliver 23 new vehicles, giving Victorians confidence that in an emergency, they will continue to get the fast, life-saving care they need.
This investment will also see an extra 90 new paramedics – building on the 1,000 new paramedics rolled out across the state over the past four years.
Wimmera Southern Mallee communities will also benefit under the Budget, transforming 15 single-officer branches to dual-officer crews, including at Rupanyup and St Arnaud.
Transforming mental health
Right now, there are thousands upon thousands of Victorians struggling with their mental health.
And the truth is, we don’t have the best mental health system we could – or should – have.
Regional and rural communities are particularly impacted, with limited access to services and support.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 includes $173 million to help make sure more Victorians are getting the support they need now.
Healthy smiles for our kids
Students right across the state will have a brighter smile, thanks to our rollout of free dental care at all public primary and secondary schools. This year’s Budget begins that rollout, with an initial investment of $322 million, delivering on our promise to bring back dental vans.
Wherever you live, every Victorian deserves the security of a good, stable job with a decent wage.
It’s more than just a pay cheque – it’s about being able to provide for yourself and your family.
The Victorian Government has made job creation our priority: slashing regional payroll tax, introducing Free TAFE and putting Victorian workers and Victorian jobs first.
These efforts have seen more than 66,000 new jobs created in regional Victoria since November 2014.
Now, we're building on that work – ensuring even more people living in regional Victoria have the dignity and security of a job.
The skills our state needs
Last year's Budget included a transformative $172 million to make priority TAFE and pre-apprenticeship courses free.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 maintains our momentum, investing $46.3 million to upgrade and redevelop TAFEs across regional Victoria.
Supporting the next generation of farming jobs
We also promised to support the next generation of farming jobs. And with this Budget, we're delivering, investing $7.2 million to ensure young Victorians have the skills they need to secure lifelong careers in the agricultural industry.
This includes supporting the delivery of the Certificate III in Shearing at sites across Victoria from 2020. And to ensure getting a great education doesn't mean moving to the city, agricultural colleges at Longerenong, Dookie and Glenormiston will also receive upgrades to their education and accommodation facilities.
The Victorian Government is backing the future of farming, with an extra $500,000 to continue the Young Farmers Scholarship, helping young farmers develop their skills and put those new skills into practice.
Investing in agricultural communities
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invests in the future of our agricultural communities, providing:
- $143 million to expand the biosecurity services system, ensuring our state’s clean and green reputation, and protecting the livelihoods of Victorian producers
- $3 million to improve health and safety on our farms, increasing health checks for farmers and support for the Victorian Farmers Federation to employ new Farm Safety Officers
- $500,000 to pilot the use of digital food regulation, building Victoria’s reputation as a leader in digital agriculture and growing our local industry
Reducing regional payroll tax
In this Budget, we’re supporting local businesses to grow even bigger, helping them to reach new markets and create new local jobs.
This year, we're providing further tax relief to rural and regional businesses, including:
- further reducing regional payroll tax – to create new regional jobs, the regional payroll tax rate will be reduced to 1.2125%, or 25% of the metropolitan rate from 2022-23. The reduction will be phased in over three years, reducing by around 0.4 percentage points each year in 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23, giving payroll tax relief to around 3,500 regional businesses
- expanding eligibility for the regional payroll tax rate – eligibility for the regional payroll tax rate will also be expanded, helping more businesses qualify as regional employers, with the current 'business location test' removed from 1 July 2019
- increasing the payroll tax free threshold – the current payroll tax-free threshold of $650,000 will be increased to $700,000 from 2022‑23, lifted incrementally by $25,000 in both 2021-22 and 2022-23
- introducing a land transfer duty concession in regional Victoria – to provide support to regional businesses and encourage businesses to relocate and expand in regional areas, a land transfer duty concession will be provided for commercial and industrial property transactions. A 10% concession will be provided for contracts signed from 1 July 2019, increasing by 10 percentage points each year to ultimately provide a full a 50% discount by 1 July 2023
Boosting regional tourism
Tourism is pivotal to the strength of regional economies and regional communities.
Recognising this importance, this year’s Budget includes new investments to attract even more visitors from interstate and overseas, and encourage Victorians to explore everything regional Victoria has to offer, with investments in local attractions including Hanging Rock and the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
An additional $32 million will go towards attracting international, interstate and intrastate visitors, growing our state’s tourism industry – and the jobs that go with it.
Keeping regional communities safe
Continuing our commitment
As we recruit and deploy an extra 3,135 new frontline police, the Victorian Budget 2019/20 further invests in the technology and training needed to keep Victorians safe, including:
- $121 million to crackdown on dangerous driving, including planning for new road safety technology
- $4.7 million to ensure our police have access to drug crime intelligence to assist them to disrupt methamphetamine manufacture, supply and distribution in Victoria, helping put a stop to the evil ice trade
- $2.5 million to keep our state safe with Counter Terrorism and Protective Security training and infrastructure maintenance
Supporting our emergency services
The Victorian Government is investing in our emergency services, to support the Victorians who put themselves on the line for us. The Victorian Budget 2019/20 provides:
- $70.6 million to upgrade the emergency services radio, transitioning Ambulance Victoria from an outdated analogue system to digital communication and enabling our paramedics to respond more effectively to emergencies around the state
- $60 million to increase the retirement benefits of police and emergency services personnel, ensuring those who protect us are protected in their retirement
Keeping women and children safe
The Victorian Government remains dedicated to addressing family violence, and implementing every single one of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission. We know that addressing family violence will take a long-term commitment. This Budget continues that effort, with a $185 million investment, including $23.9 million to better respond and meet the needs of victim survivors in emergency accommodation statewide, including additional funding for regional services in Wimmera Southern Mallee.
Protecting our environment
Ten years on from the devastating 2009 Bushfires, this Budget builds on the Victorian Government’s critical investments to protect families and their communities, with:
- $43.3 million for the Managing Bushfire Risk program, which works with local communities to reduce their bushfire risk and upgrade radios for forest fire management firefighters
- $34.9 million for support for immediate measures to strengthen the Victorian recycling sector
- $15 million for the Environment Protection Authority to protect Victoria's environment from pollution and waste
In addition, the Government is providing $23.7 million to protect our waterways and assist drought affected communities, including:
- $12.6 million to help farmers affected by drought, including support for infrastructure and the extension of hardship payments
- $6 million to support integrated water management projects that allow smarter use of water in our cities and towns
A strong Victoria
Housing for those in need
This year's Budget invests $209 million to build 1,000 new public housing properties across our state.
Our Creative State
With the Victorian Government already supporting more than 100 events across our state, this year’s Budget continues our investments in the industries and individuals that underpin Victoria’s success, with:
- $14 million for Victoria Live, a 10-day winter music festival extending across the state that showcases Victoria's live music scene, food, wine and craft beer, while boosting local jobs
Investing in local sports
Our local sporting clubs are the heart and soul of regional communities.
This year’s Budget builds on the Victorian Government’s record investments in sport, while delivering on our commitments to local communities with new and upgraded sporting facilities. This includes:
- $58.5 million in grants for community sport infrastructure, giving local athletes the facilities they deserve
- $7.5 million to support and grow Victoria's golf clubs with infrastructure and equipment upgrades
- $5 million to develop our next generation of sporting stars, establishing seven basketball hubs, including new hubs in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and Traralgon
- $2.8 million towards increasing netball participation in our regional communities
The great outdoors
This year’s Budget includes a record $106 million, delivering 30 brand-new campsites, 30 upgraded campsites, better 4WD tracks and walking trails and reduced camping fees.
It’s more important than ever that local people get a say in local priorities.
The Victorian Government established nine Regional Partnerships that bring together locals, businesses and councils to talk about the needs of their communities.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 delivers on key Regional Partnerships priorities, incorporating a number of regional and statewide initiatives, including:
- $152 million for the Bendigo law court development, continuing our work in revitalising the heart of the city
- $134 million for a range of regional development priorities, including free public wi-fi in Ararat and the Latrobe Valley, and restoring Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat
- $49.6 million to build three new train stations in and around Bendigo, providing a better service for local communities
- $10.2 million for the new Hope Restart facility in Gippsland, providing extra rehab beds for Victorians recovering from addiction
- $7 million to begin planning a bigger and better Latrobe Regional Hospital
- $5.7 million for collaborative Aboriginal cultural heritage management, including supporting the nomination of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape for World Heritage listing
- $2 million to plan Stage Two of the Waurn Ponds Track duplication, ensuring better and more frequent services for local passengers
- $1.5 million for the Great Ocean Road action plan, to protect this national icon and its local communities
- $1 million for more silo art and large-scale murals, boosting local tourism and local jobs
Reviewed 26 May 2019