Putting people first in the Ballarat region

Putting people first in the Ballarat region Main Image

24 November 2020

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.

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.

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.

The Labor Government will help more Victorians reskill, upskill and find work, with up to 80,000 Free TAFE and subsidised training places. A dedicated $155 million will help Victorians particularly affected by the pandemic including women and young people.

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.

An extra 250,000 low-income households will benefit from new more efficient heating and cooling, while heating, cooling or hot water systems will be upgraded across an extra 35,000 social housing homes - reducing bills for tenants and making winter and summer more comfortable.

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. $20 million will be invested in Moorabool and $15 million for Golden Plains.

As kids get back into the classroom, this Budget delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools - making sure students have the classrooms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. This includes $1.98 million for Linton Primary School, with students to benefit from new and modern learning spaces and $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.

he Labor Government is also investing $465 million through the Victorian Tourism Recovery Package to attract more visitors to regional Victoria. That includes support for the Ballarat Regional Tourism Board to continue coordinating our regional tourism efforts. This investment will help bring more tourists, to grow our economy, create jobs and benefit our community.

Situated in the heart of Ballarat, 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.

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 regional economies and local jobs into summer and beyond.

And to protect our state - and support the fantastic work of our firefighters - Budget will also provide funding to build and upgrade 1,447 kilometres of bushfire fuel breaks across the state, providing additional protection for towns with expanded fuel breaks in and around state forests.

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 recommendations and deliver care for local families.

We 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 Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Recently I’ve been asking the community what they want, and this truly budget delivers on what I’ve heard. We will see an investment in people; in creating thousands of local jobs, giving casuals sick leave, 80,000 Free TAFE places, reduced energy costs, free kinder for 2021 and support for our local businesses to rebound.”

"We’re delivering on mental health reform and the projects that lift our local communities like investments in our schools, $115 million in social housing to put a roof over people’s heads and major projects to boost tourism to our region.”

”This year has been really tough - but it's reminded us of what matters most. It's why with this Budget,

we're investing in families, neighbourhoods and our community."

"TAFE changes lives - it changed mine. With this Budget we'll make sure more Victorians have the

opportunity to reskill and find new opportunity as we rebuild from the pandemic."