The Victorian Budget 2018/2019 was released last week with money allocated for an array of initiatives and projects throughout Benalla and the north east.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas introduced the budget.
‘‘This is a... budget that invests in the projects our state needs and the people we need to deliver them,’’ Mr Pallas said.
‘‘It is a Budget that continues the job of delivering our plan for the future today. It’s a Budget that gets things done.’’
Several highlights of the budget that impacts Benalla and the north east includes:
●$4.3 billion for regional Victoria — Making sure regional communities have reliable roads and rail, good schools and quality healthcare.
●$172 million to make priority TAFE and pre-apprenticeship courses free — Plus an extra $44million will also update learning materials, introduce independent assessments and bring back trade papers ensuring apprentices are trained to a high standard with recognised qualifications.
●$181 million to build, plan and upgrade 60 regional schools — Including Winton Primary.
●$705 million to address mental health issues and upgrade facilities — includes more rehab beds, more mental health support workers, and new and upgraded specialist facilities across the state.
●$50 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund — a fund that is upgrading medical facilities across the state, including Benalla Hospital.
●$941 million for fixing Victoria’s regional road network — Labor are calling this ‘‘the biggest road maintenance blitz our state has ever seen — $56.6million of which will go towards a maintenance uplift and the establishment of a dedicated country roads body, Regional Roads Victoria.
●$760 million for local priorities identified by Regional Partnerships, which includes $760000 to establish a Cross Border Commission to reduce barriers to services for Victoria’s border communities.
●$2 million to help regional tourism boards and councils grow local economies and jobs by attracting new visitors and new events.
●$300000 to develop a Hume Renewable Energy Strategy.
●$13.5 million for small business mentoring and support — A key part of this mentoring will be helping business owners understand how they can benefit from the digital economy.
●The regional payroll tax rate will be cut to 2.425 per cent, half the metropolitan rate. Businesses based in regional Victoria who pay at least 85 per cent of their payroll to regional employees will be eligible from July 1.
On top of these the budget will fund the Victorian Small Business Commissions farm debt mediation services, to help Victorian farmers undertake financial mediation with their creditors.
It also puts money aside to invest in more reliable regional public transport, including funds to provide extra stabling and maintenance.
There is also $15.8 million earmarked to finalise design and procurement for new, modern regional trains to replace Victoria’s ageing classic fleet.
Premier Daniel Andrews said this budget was an investment in the big projects that regional Victoria needed.
‘‘Wherever you live, this is a... Budget that delivers on the things that matter — new skills, good jobs, more schools and better roads.’’
State Member for northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the budget was about boosting jobs and making sure the north-east remained a great place to live.
‘‘Whether it’s rebuilding TAFE... upgrading local schools or fixing our roads, we’re getting things done,’’ Ms Symes said.
●For more information on the 2018/19 state budget, visit www.budget.vic.gov.au