Putting people first in Wendouree
When the Andrews Labor Government was elected, we promised to put people first. As our state begins its recovery from the global pandemic, people will continue to be our priority.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 delivers on the investments that will see our community recover – and come back even stronger.
Situated in the heart of our city, the new National Centre for Photography will become Australia’s leading photographic destination with an investment of $6.7 million. Located in the Union Bank Building, and with the Ballarat International Foto Biennale Festival anchored in this historic venue, the Centre will attract local, domestic and international artists to the region and support local jobs.
The Labor Government is also investing $465 million through the Victorian Tourism Recovery Package to attract more visitors to regional Victoria – supporting local jobs and making sure more Victorian families can experience the best our state has to offer. That includes support for our regional tourism boards, including Ballarat Regional Tourism Board, to continue coordinating our regional tourism efforts.
As we recover, we want our state to come back stronger than ever, delivering the biggest investment in inclusive education in our state’s history. That includes $10 million in upgrades for Ballarat Specialist School, supporting students with new permanent buildings.
A further $1.6 billion will transform support for students with disability, doubling the number of students receiving extra support to 55,000, and creating up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025.
Every government school will benefit, enabling access for students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours.
To help get more Victorians back into work, the Labor Government is setting itself an ambitious target – creating 400,000 new jobs by 2025, half of them by 2022.
Our new Jobs for Victoria initiative will help locals find a new job – and with it, security, stability and certainty. This includes $250 million to partner with employers to cover the wages of at least 10,000 new workers.
These positions will be for Victorians hardest hit by this pandemic, including women, young people, retrenched workers and people who have been long-term unemployed. This investment will also deliver targeted and tailored support for those who need it – such as mentoring, career counselling or more intensive support.
And because we know too many Victorians are having to choose between going to work sick and losing wages, the Labor Government will invest $5 million to develop a new Secure Work Pilot Scheme. Once in place, the two-year pilot will provide up to five days of sick and carer’s pay at the national minimum wage for casual or insecure workers in priority industries.
This year’s Budget will help nearly one million families save hundreds on their power bill. Concession card holders, such as Victorians receiving JobSeeker payments, will be eligible for a one-off $250 payment to help cover the cost of their energy bills.
The Labor Government’s Solar Homes will also be expanded to an extra 42,000 rooftop solar rebates plus 14,500 solar batteries, cutting power bills for local families. And for the very first time, small businesses will also be eligible.
We’re also delivering the biggest investment in public and community housing in Australia, ever. This investment will build more than 12,000 new homes – making sure thousands of Victorians have a place to call home, and thousands more Victorians have a job. The City of Ballarat is a priority area for investment, with procurement starting straight away to build new homes, and a guaranteed minimum investment of $80 million.
Even with kids back at school, the balancing act that many families know all too well isn’t easy. That’s why this Budget will make kinder free in 2021 and deliver outside school hours care at up to 400 extra schools, saving parents money and giving them greater flexibility when it comes to work and care.
And because Victorians have well and truly earned a holiday, the Labor Government is offering up to 120,000 $200 vouchers to encourage families to take a break in regional Victoria. The scheme is expected to be up and running by December, supporting local economies and local jobs into summer and beyond.
2020 has also reminded us of what matters most in life – the health and wellbeing of the people we love. As we begin our state’s recovery, that will continue to be our focus.
This Budget will ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. That includes nearly $870 million for mental health, including to implement the Royal Commission into Mental Health’s interim report findings and recommendations and deliver care for local families.
We also want to make sure we continue to give patients flexibility in their care, allowing them to choose what is best for them and their families.
This Budget will strengthen and expand virtual care technology, making it easier for busy families and patients in regional and rural communities to access support.
This is a Budget to repair, recover and make us stronger than before. This is a Budget, and a Government, that puts people first.
Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison
“Ballarat Specialist School is a fantastic school community. With new buildings and learning spaces, we want to make it even stronger.”
“Investment in our local tourism industry is an investment in local jobs. We want more people to visit our proud city – and support local businesses while they’re here.”