The Victorian government’s unprecedented big-spending budget is targeting more than $8 billion for regional Victoria.
The money will go to regional jobs and infrastructure, including big transport projects, school and hospital upgrades, jobs and social housing.
Treasurer Tim Pallas says regional Victoria has been hit hard by bushfires and the coronavirus.
“Our recovery will rely on supporting every Victorian, every community, and every corner of our state,” he said on Tuesday.
More than half the $2 billion dollars allocated for hospital and health service upgrades in the state will go to the regions, including $384 million to redevelop Warrnambool base hospital, $217 million for the Latrobe regional hospital, and $562 million for Frankston hospital.
Another big-ticket area is a $4.7 billion spend on regional road and rail.
The plans include funding fast rail to Geelong, stage three of the Shepparton rail line upgrade, and stage two of the Warrnambool rail line upgrade.
And $48.8 million will fund the Victorian government’s share of spending on the Murray Basin rail project.
There’s also significant spending on technology infrastructure in the regions.
The government’s plan will include $300 million to tackle mobile phone black spots, and $250 million to co-fund business-grade broadband in regional towns.
Regional schools are also in for a boost, with two new campuses at Benalla and San Remo, upgrades at 44 regional schools, and improvements at ten regional specialist schools.
As part of an overall $1 billion in TAFE funding statewide, regional TAFEs and agricultural colleges will get a $50 million upgrade, including Dookie, Longerenong and Marcus Oldham College.
The government will also spend $64 million to provide training, internships and job opportunities centred on regional Victoria.
There’s also $1.6 billion in spending on clean energy and energy efficiency projects, with six new Renewable Energy zones to include Mildura and the state’s southwest.
The agriculture sector will see $115 million in new funding, including $65 million to help farmers take up new technologies and improve supply chain infrastructure.
The government will bring forward an expected cut to stamp duty for commercial and industrial property transactions in regional Victoria, with the 50 per cent concession to start from January 1, 2021.
There’s also money for social housing in the regions, with the government promising to spend a quarter of its $5.3 billion social building program money in regional Victoria.
As well as the previously announced $465 million tourism recovery package, including the tourism voucher program, money will go to galleries and creative infrastructure in the regions.
There will be $34.7 million for a new exhibition space in the old Kyneton primary school, an upgrade to the Benalla Art Gallery, and money for the Castlemaine Goods Shed, Shepparton Arts museum, and the Latrobe creative precinct.
The Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund will also get a $156 million boost, to be spent on projects chosen by local communities.