May 5, 2015

BALLARAT: HOME TO NEW JOBS, INDUSTRIES AND FAMILIES

The Andrews Labor Government is helping the Ballarat region recover from the jobs crisis and four years of Coalition cuts to local schools, hospitals and services.

The 2015-16 Victorian Budget invests in the things that local families need to live a healthy, safe and comfortable life, and funds the projects that communities and businesses need to create jobs and drive growth.

In the jobs crisis that gripped our state over the last four years, regional Victoria fared the worst. Iconic businesses closed down, many more teetered on the edge, and young people packed up and left town in search of jobs.

The Budget invests $500 million in a Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. Within it, the $200 million Regional Jobs Fund will support projects to give established industries a real future and emerging industries a real chance.

The $250 million Regional Infrastructure Development Fund will support the development of new centres and attractions to boost business and bring more visitors to regional Victoria.

TAFE cuts hit regional Victoria the hardest. The Budget invests $300 million to complete the TAFE Rescue Fund, which will help regional campuses like at Federation University TAFE find their feet and offer more courses.

Crucial regional Local Learning and Employment Networks such as Grampians LLEN, Highlands LLEN and Central Ranges LLEN have had their funding secured to ensure disengaged kids are supported to get the skills they need for the jobs they want.

The previous Coalition Government cut funds for new school buildings by half. Across Ballarat, kids were learning and teachers were working in unsafe, uncomfortable and crowded classrooms.

The Budget invests $324.6 million to rebuild, renovate or refurbish Victorian schools, including 21 in regional Victoria. Ballarat Secondary College, Delacombe Primary School, Phoenix P-12, Beaufort Secondary College, Bacchus Marsh Secondary College, Sebastopol West Kinder and Iris Ramsay Kinder will be getting needed upgrades or rebuilds.

Secondary students deserve a head start on a hands-on vocation. The Budget provides $12 million to support and establish Tech Schools across the state including one in Ballarat.

The Budget also prioritises funds to ensure that Ballarat and district retains its position as a premier visitor destination with funds for the Ballarat Station precinct redevelopment, upgrades for Sovereign Hill and the $31.5 million Eureka Stadium upgrade to bring AFL to the region.

Ballarat’s nearby National and State Parks will be supported as part of an $11 million program to upgrade dilapidated buildings, toilets, paths and roads.

Victoria’s wine industry will also be supported with a $1 million package to boost investment and tourism opportunities, growing jobs across the Ballarat, Macedon, Pyrenees and Grampians wine regions.

Job creating projects across Ballarat and district include:

  • $8 million for Sovereign Hill by night
  • $25 million for Ballarat Station precinct redevelopment
  • $19 million for the 144km Grampians Peak Trail
  • $31.5 million Eureka Stadium upgrade to help bring AFL to Western Victoria
  • $2 million for the Canadian State Park
  • Up to $220 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project once the business case is finalised, which is expected to occur in coming months. $30 million was fast-tracked in February to get work started.
  • Upgrades for Ballarat SC, Delacombe PS, Phoenix P-12, Beaufort SC, Bacchus Marsh SC, Sebastopol West Kinder and Iris Ramsay Kinder

The Budget invests $650 million, much of it in regional Victoria, to fix roads and public transport and upgrade freight corridors, so businesses can get their goods to market sooner and regional families can get to their destinations safer. This includes improvements to the Midland Highway and Colac-Ballarat Road.

Under the Coalition, millions of dollars were cut from our health system and thousands of regional families were left behind. That’s why the Labor Government is investing $1.3 billion into Victoria’s hospital system.

On top of funding to upgrade medical equipment state wide, $10 million will be provided to Ballarat Base Hospital for a new catheterisation lab, so locals don’t have to travel to Melbourne for urgent heart assessment.

The Budget provides almost $100 million to fix the ambulance crisis by reducing response times and upgrading ambulance stations, equipment and vehicles across the state. Wendouree’s ambulance station will be upgraded.

The Budget includes funding to commence the recruitment of 450 additional career fire fighters, $9.6 million for the provision of emergency medical response at integrated stations. Buninyong CFA station will be rebuilt.

An additional $50 million is to be spent across regional Victoria to reduce bushfire risk through better fuel management on public land.

Local services to support victims of family violence will be boosted with $519,000 to go to the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault.

Users of ice and their distraught families will get the help and support they need, under the Labor Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan. This includes $15 million to provide Victoria Police with new drug and booze buses.

Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews

“Over the last four years, too many young people have packed up and left home in search of jobs. That’s why we’re investing in schools, skills and local industries, to get regional cities and towns back to work.”

“Dedicated regional funds will create the jobs of the future, whilst the TAFE rescue fund will ensure that kids can get the training they need for the job they want.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard

“Labor promised to deliver on the needed upgrades for Ballarat Secondary, Phoenix P-12 and Bacchus Marsh Secondary and we have delivered. This is great news for the community who have campaigned so hard.”

“We’re also keeping the community safe with new CFA trucks and equipment to support our firefighters. We’re also delivering on plans to build a new CFA for Buninyong.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree, Sharon Knight

“Too many local jobs were lost under the Liberals and this budget puts Ballarat back on track. Whether it’s funds for the redevelopment of the Ballarat Station precinct or upgrades to Eureka Stadium, this budget is great news.”

“Under the Liberals our health system was breaking and our ambulance service was in crisis. We are bringing our health service back to life, reducing response times and delivering an upgraded ambulance station in Wendouree.”