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Victoria’s election-year state budget has been handed down by Treasurer Tim Pallas today and the health sector has come out on top.
Debt and deficit are better than expected, with debt $7.8 million less than previously forecast, according to the State Budget.
Treasurer Tim Pallas described his 2022-23 Budget as a “budget for every Victorian”.
Budget papers also confirmed multiple blowouts to key projects, including:
- A $121.5 million blowout on the Suburban Parks Program
- A $503 million blowout for the Footscray Hospital
- A $512.8 million blowout for the Frankston Hospital upgrade
- A $317.2 million blowout for Stage 2 of the City Loop Safety upgrade
- A $106.2 million on Metro Tunnel due to COVID payments
Here are some of the winners and losers from the Victorian Budget.
Hospitals and health services – metro
Hospital infrastructure is one of the major winners, with more than $2.9 billion allocated to build new hospitals and upgrade existing ones.
The new Melton Hospital will receive more than $900 million which will include 24-hour emergency department, more than 100 medical and surgical beds, an intensive care unit, as well as maternity and neonatal services.
Werribee Mercy Hospital and Casey Hospital will see their emergency department doubled under an $236 million investment.
Up to 7000 new healthcare workers will be hired and trained up, including 5000 nurses to help ease the pressure on the system.
Hospitals and health services – regional
Regional health projects will be funded through a $300 million boost to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.
More than $500 million will be allocated to deliver the Barwon Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Regional and rural local public health units across the state will also share in a statewide investment of $40 million.
Mental health services
A record $372 million will be invested in workforce initiatives which will see more than 1500 mental health workers hired.
More than $490 million will be allocated in acute, hospital-based care. This will open an extra 82 mental health beds at the Northern Hospital and Sunshine Hospital.
15 more acute beds will be opened in Shepparton and land will be acquired for a further 49 beds in Ballarat and Wangaratta under an $196 million investment.
Emergency services and ambulance response
The budget will invest more than $333 million to add nearly 400 new staff to increase Triple Zero call taking and dispatch capacity for Triple Zero services and training more operators to allocate calls across the state.
The funding is expected to address the immediate COVID-19 related demand throughout the pandemic.
A $124 million investment will respond to increased demand, including hiring more paramedics – which will see another 90 paramedics hit the road.
Nearly $36.2 million will be put into the state’s control centre, while VICSES will receive $28.5 million to maintain their facilities and upgrade vehicles to help assist in emergencies.
More than $16 million will be invested to build female-friendly changing facilities at three campuses and upgrades to 40 CFA stations across the state.
Schools and education
Under the budget, $1.6 billion will help build new schools and improve the existing ones.
Under this, $581.5 million will be invested to build 13 new schools, which will open in 2024.
A $326 million will deliver upgrades for 36 special schools.
Weekly face-to-face teaching hours will be reduced by one hour in 2023, then a further half-hour in 2024 for each teacher.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the budget would include a $250 payment for every household that seeks out a better power deal, along with measures to ease cost of living pressures and billions of dollars for health service.
The rebate will be available from July 1, is designed to encourage people to find a cheaper deal online or by phone and is expected to cost $250 million.
The 2026 Commonwealth Games will be backed by $2.6 billion of investment in this year’s budget.
Women and domestic violence services
Refuge and crisis accommodation for victim survivors will expand, with a 69.1 million boost to two refuges, six new crisis accommodation properties and support for three organisations.
Funding of $18.9 million over three years will support Respect Victoria – alongside funding for new community-based consent education to prevent sexual violence.
The budget will provide $55.6 million to implement recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence.
An $11.3 million investment will help implement the government’s sex work decriminalisation laws.
Hospitality and diners
Previously announced in March, the budget will invest $245.6 million to create fairer conditions for workers, including the Sick Pay Guarantee pilot scheme for eligible casual and contract workers.
Roads and infrastructure
The budget will see $213 million allocated for a 1.6 kilometre road upgrade to improve travel on Mickleham Road in Greenvale.
The improvements will include upgraded intersections, new traffic lights and new paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
An additional $226.7 million will go towards high-priority and intersection upgrade projects at locations across the state including the Bass Highway in Kilcunda.
A further investment includes 12 brand new VLocity Trains for the regional rail network.
There will be an additional 502 police and 50 protective service officers over the next two years as part of an investment of $342 million.
Two new police stations will also be built in Point Cook and South Melbourne.
However, the Police Association has previously called for 1500 more officers to be introduced.