Doing What Matters for Ballarat and Surrounds

The Andrews Labor Government is doing what matters for regional Victorians – delivering cost of living relief, upgrading schools and hospitals and creating thousands of jobs across the state.

More than 1.5 million people live in regional Victoria, with more migrating to our beautiful regional cities and communities every year.

And since 2014, we’ve created more than 175,000 jobs across regional Victoria.

The Victorian Budget 2023/24 invests more than $5 billion to continue the work we’ve started for rural and regional Victoria – with fairer V/Line fares, free kinder, planning for upgrades to key hospitals and supporting thousands of good local jobs by bringing back the SEC.

No matter where you live across the state, whether it’s kinder, finding a good local school, or starting a career through TAFE or university – education changes lives.

Every three and four-year-old Victorian child can now access between five and 15 hours of free kinder a week, saving families up to $2,500 per child each year.

We’ve already invested $4.4 billion in our once-in-a-generation Best Start, Best Life and Three-Year-Old Kinder reforms. With this Budget, that investment is at $6.2 billion. That’s a further $1.8 billion to support the education of our littlest learners right across the state.

We’re upgrading schools right across regional Victoria, including $8.6 million for Woodmans Hill Secondary College in Ballarat East to create a dedicated space for Year 7s, an extension to the VCE centre to support senior students and a refurbishment of the integrated learning building.

The Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre at Federation TAFE will receive $6 million for Stage 2 of works, with a classroom, workshop and equipment to deliver specialised training courses, such as wind turbine maintenance and blade repair.

Every Victorian should be able to get the healthcare they need, when they need it, close to home.

That’s why this Budget gives a boost to healthcare across our regions – including a $71 million package that creates 20 new women’s health clinics at public hospitals, including eight in regional Victoria.

We are investing $22 million to deliver four new PET scanners at hospitals in Ballarat, Shepparton, Warrnambool and Wangaratta improving our capacity to access cancers, neurological and cardiovascular diseases for all Victorians.

We’re making it easier for families and commuters in regional Victoria to leave the car at home and get around by train and bus, while encouraging people from across the state to see the very best regional Victoria has to offer.

We promised we’d make regional public transport fares fair – and since we capped regional fares at the daily metropolitan price, Victorians have already saved about $8 million.

And we’ll keep improving V/Line – with a $219 million investment for almost 200 extra regional weekend services across the state, and $601 million for 23 new VLocity trains to be built right here in Victoria – supporting 500 local manufacturing jobs.

We’ll invest $50 million in the historic Ballarat Station to improve accessibility, safety and amenity, while protecting the station’s rich heritage.

More than $120 million will be provided to Service Victoria to build and maintain the digital services Victorians expect, with an allocation of $90 million supercharging already guaranteed funding.

This month we announced a digital driver licence pilot for Ballarat that will lead to a state-wide roll-out by 2024 – giving every Victorian driver the option of carrying their licence on their phone.

We’re making sure Victorians can access justice no matter where they live, with $70.7 million for the Bendigo Law Courts, Drug Court pilots in Shepparton and Ballarat and a Drug and Alcohol Treatment program in the County Court, and better case management systems and remote hearing services.

Every family deserves the chance to get out and kick a ball, go for a run, walk the dog or enjoy our great local parks. And as regional Victorians spend more time outdoors with the people they love, this Budget invests in creating and improving local community spaces.

We are funding new and upgraded community sport and recreation projects across regional Victoria, including up to $8.4 million for Marty Busch Reserve, $1 million towards the redevelopment of Brown Hill Recreation Reserve and $450,000 for court and light upgrades at Royal Park Football Netball Club in Maryborough.
The iconic Stawell Gift race will continue to run in western Victoria with $1.7 million to make sure the event is sustainable for many years to come.

We are investing $500,000 towards the delivery of the first Australian memorial based in Ballarat to acknowledge all victim survivors of sexual violence.

Victoria is Australia’s agricultural powerhouse – and Victorians rely on our farmers to provide the food we eat from paddock to plate.

Investing in biosecurity means protecting Victoria’s agriculture sector from the serious threats posed by emergency animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease. We’ll invest $17.5 million in skills training and equipment to prepare for a rapid response to any emergency animal disease detection.

Victoria’s renowned producers will benefit from $31 million, including $3 million for farm safety programs, $10 million for the Distillery Door program, $5 million for the Wine to the World program and $5 million in hospitality scholarships – ensuring the right skilled workers fill our booming hospitality sector.

And to encourage more visitors to flock to Victoria from across the country and around the world, we’ll invest $32.5 million in Visit Victoria to continue its work strengthening our visitor economy.

Recovery from natural disasters doesn’t happen overnight and more than six months on from the devastating October floods, we’re continuing to stand with affected Victorians.

The Budget invests $677 million in ongoing flood recovery, building on the $1.8 billion committed last year to help communities get their lives back on track.

We know the October 2022 floods had a devastating impact on roads across regional Victoria. That’s why, for the first time, we’re investing $2.8 billion in road maintenance over 10 years to provide long-term certainty, as we substantially repair not just flood-damaged roads, but roads across our state – keeping communities connected and drivers safer.

Since we came to government, we have invested an average of $4.6 billion in each and every Budget in regional Victoria – and this year goes above and beyond to deliver for Victorians in every corner of our state.

These are the things that matter – and the things we promised to Victorians.

And with this Budget, we’re getting on with delivering every election commitment we made at the last election.

Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“We are doing what matters for Wendouree, whether it’s making V/line fares fairer, giving every child the best start at life with free kinder and upgrades to community sport facilities – we are delivering for all Victorians.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eureka Michaela Settle

“Regional Victorians enjoy spending time outdoors with their family and friends – which is why we are upgrading key community sport and recreation projects so they can continue doing what they love most.”

Quote attributable to Member for Ripon Martha Haylett

“We are providing direct cost of living relief to regional Victorians, making it cheaper for them to get around on public transport and driving down the costs of their energy bills.”

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