The 2019/20 Victorian Budget features plenty of large projects, with the state government staying true to its commitment to spend big in the coming years.
A $152 million investment to rebuild Bendigo’s law courts on a new site next to Bendigo TAFE was the centrepiece of the announcements made on Monday.
The new court precinct will feature eight courtrooms, mediation suites, 16 holding cells, hearing rooms and a family violence court.
The rollout of universal three-year-old kinder will begin in regional Victoria before it makes its way to Melbourne, as part of an $882 million commitment to early childhood education.
Campaspe, Central Goldfields and Loddon will be part of the program in 2021, following six rural local government areas, which will begin the program in 2020.
Early childhood courses have been added to the free TAFE list, supported by $28.5 million in the budget, while $316 million has been set aside for new kindergarten facilities.
A $49.6 million spend will see three new stations in and around Bendigo, located at Goornong, Raywood and Huntly, with more funding to plan the next stage of the Bendigo Line upgrade, enabling trains every 40 minutes during off peak times and the re-establishment of a station at Harcourt.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the budget delivers on the commitments made to the people of central Victoria.
“We’re delivering on our positive plan for central Victoria – with better schools, hospitals and transport, and the investments we need to support families and create jobs,” Mr Andrews said.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the upgrades to schools, health services, train services and sporting facilities respond to the needs of our community. “This budget is all about keeping our promises to Bendigo – one of Victoria’s fastest growing regional cities,” Ms Allan said.
The state government will borrow an extra $32 billion in the next four years to fund projects across the state, with Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley branding the Labor Party’s budget as “an economic ticking time bomb”.
“Victoria is the highest taxing state in Australia. Taxes are now up 36 per cent under this Labor government, raking in an additional $24.4 billion since being elected,” Ms Staley said.
“This is a budget that is built on heroic assumptions, which if they don’t eventuate, will place a ticking time bomb under our economy.”
– NICHOLAS NAKOS