PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST IN MONBULK

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.

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. This includes upgrades of $8.93 million for Yarra Ranges Special Development School, delivering the next stage of the school’s masterplan.

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 from the reform, enabling access for students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours.

And as kids get back into the classroom, this Budget also delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools – making sure students have the classrooms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. This includes the students at Billanook Primary School who will enjoy better facilities with a $7.81 million upgrade to modernise the school.

The Government’s investment will also support local jobs, with our school infrastructure build expected to create more than 6,400 jobs across the state.
Our hospitals have been on the frontline of our response to the pandemic. This Budget helps keep them strong with funding to accelerate planning and design for the expansion of the Angliss Hospital at Ferntree Gully.

This year we’ve come to appreciate our local parks and playgrounds more than ever. As Victorians spend more time outdoors with the people they love, this Budget invests in our community spaces including upgrades to Silvan Reservoir Park and Dandenong Ranges National Park.

The Olinda Precinct Stage Two project will benefit from $3.4 million, improving access into the Olinda Township and recreation trails into the reserve. The Budget also delivers $10 million to continue implementation of the Yellingbo Conservation Area and make sure the recommendations of the VEAC report are delivered.

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 to continue coordinating our regional tourism efforts.

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.

This Budget will also provide funding to build and upgrade 1,447 kilometres of bushfire fuel breaks across the state, providing additional protection for towns and communities with expanded fuel breaks in and around forests.

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.

That includes helping 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.

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.

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.

A further $235 million will build our Recovery Workforce, creating 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection with hundreds more new training opportunities, so Victorians have the support they need as we recover from this pandemic.

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 Monbulk James Merlino

“As we recover from the pandemic, this Budget is about making our state stronger and fairer. It’s why we’re upgrading local schools and delivering the biggest investment in inclusive education, ever.”

“Investing in our schools means investing in our kids – making sure whatever their background or wherever they live, every child can be their best.”

“We promised to put people first – and as we recover, people will continue to be our first priority.”

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