On Tuesday 5 May 2009, the Victorian Treasurer, John Lenders announced the 2009-10 Victorian budget.
Victoria will spend a record $20 billion on infrastructure projects over the next four years in order to stimulate the state economy. The Treasurer has pledged to spend $7 Billion in the coming year and $4.4 annually over the next three years.
Contrary to most other states, Victoria has forecast an operating surplus of $165 million for 2009-10. This ensures Victoria will retain a AAA rating.
The highlights of the 2009 State Budget include:
- Investing a record $11.5 billion next financial year to fast-track job-creating infrastructure across the state;
- Investing almost $1 billion to help Victoria respond and recover from the worst bushfires in Australian history;
- Investing a record $1.71 billion in the state’s education system to prepare Victorians for the jobs of the future;
- Investing more than $3 billion to deliver the first four years of the Brumby Labor Government’s $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan
- Investing $2.6 billion to boost Victoria’s hospital and health services; and
- Investing a record $1.9 billion to provide Victoria Police with additional resources
In order to fund the proposed projects, state government debt is projected to rise to $31.3 billion or 10 per cent of gross state product by 2013.
Total spending is $42.2 Billion and is split into the following categories:
- Education – 28%
- Health – 27%
- Other - 16%
- Transport & Communications - 10%
- Public order and Safety – 10%
- Housing & community amenities – 8%
Highlights of this year’s investment in education include:
- $402 million to rebuild, renovate or extend schools across the state, securing 690 jobs in construction. Combined with the Rudd Federal Government’s investment in schools, 5000 jobs in construction will be secured;
- $57.7 million for the continued employment of 200 teaching and learning coaches to build capacity of teachers, and 50 Ultranet workers to help teachers get the most out of 21st century technology;
- $1.17 billion to lift teacher quality through higher pay and more support in the classroom, including more planning time and increased tuition time for secondary school students – for the more than 40,000 teachers employed by the Brumby Labor Government in the state school system;
More funding for hospitals, medical staff, disease prevention and dental clinics are the main priorities of a $2.6 billion boost to Victoria’s health services in the 2009 State Budget.
Key aspects of health spending are:
- $179 million over five years to expand sub-acute services to improve patient flow, including $148 million for new sub-acute beds and $17.4 million to expand the Transition Care Program;
- $45.3 million over four years for hospitals to increase renal dialysis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services; and
- $350 million over five years to expand inpatient services and open a further 100 acute beds.
- $66 million to redevelop mental health services at Dandenong Hospital;
- $26.2 million for the Warrnambool Hospital redevelopment;
- $19 million to redevelop Alexandra Hospital and ambulance station;
- $35 million for replacement medical equipment;
The Brumby Labor Government will invest a record $3 billion to deliver new rail lines, more stations and new roads all part of the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.
Key public transport projects to get underway this year include:
- $650.6 million for 20 X-Trapolis trains as part of the rolling stock investment program;
- $562.3 million to extend the Epping line to the growth suburb of South Morang – securing up to 460 jobs in construction;
- $204.6 million to electrify the Sydenham line to Sunbury – securing up to 240 jobs in construction;
- $60.8 million for the grade separation of the Springvale Road level crossing in Nunawading, with the Rudd Federal Government contributing $80 million to the $140 million project – securing up to 220 jobs in construction;
- $152.6 million to build new stations in some of Melbourne’s biggest growth areas in the west and south-east, securing up to 210 jobs in construction;
- $132.1 million for a range of measures to improve reliability and capacity of rail services across Melbourne, including 24 additional staff to assist with passenger movements and improved driver changeover practices;
- $112.1 million to begin implementation of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) project to improve public transport options in the Manningham Area; and
- $85.9 million to extend the existing Yellow SmartBus Route 901 service (Ringwood to Frankston) to Melbourne Airport through Blackburn, Greensborough, South Morang, Epping and Roxburgh Park.
The Government has committed $2.8 billion to water projects, with water authorities spending an additional $5.3 billion.
The Budget also included an extra $42 million for concessions for water and sewerage bills for low-income earners and a further $2.4 million for a water-saving retrofit program.
Other major water projects underway across Victoria include:
- The reconnection of Tarago Reservoir which will provide an additional 15 billion litres of water per year to Melbourne which will completed in the middle of this year;
- Australia’s largest water saving project - the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project – which was allocated $600 million in last year’s State Budget is already saving water for farmers, rivers and Melbourne;
- Desalination plant at Wonthaggi, to provide 150 billion litres of water regardless of rainfall
For a more in depth run down on initiatives announced by the Victorian Government, please visit http://www.budget.vic.gov.au/ or contact your Hawker Britton consultant.