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.

The Labor Government is continuing to plan and build the schools local families need. Our community will have three new schools, giving local families confidence about their kids’ future.

Land will be acquired in the Wyndham local government area for the future Tarneit Missen House Primary School (interim name), Riverdale East Primary School (interim name) and Truganina North Secondary College (interim name).

As kids get back into the classroom, this Budget also delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools. This includes $10.6 million for upgrades to Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, with a further $7.97 million for Warringa Park School to deliver the next stage of the school’s master plan.

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.

This year’s Budget will deliver $2 billion towards Geelong Fast Rail, reducing travel times and supporting more passengers on our state’s busiest regional rail line. Once complete, it will mean fewer stops, faster trips and less crowded trains for locals. Most importantly, it’ll mean less time commuting – and more time spent with the people you love. The project will create 2,800 new jobs, while supporting thousands more with increased connections between Melbourne and Geelong.

Our hospitals have been on the frontline of our response to the pandemic. This Budget helps keep them strong, with funding to plan for the future expansion of the Werribee Mercy Hospital. This investment is on top of the Labor Government’s $87 million Werribee Mercy Hospital critical care expansion, completed in 2018.

We’re also delivering the biggest investment in public and community housing in Australia, ever. This investment will build more than 12,000 new homes – making sure thousands of Victorians have a place to call home, and thousands more Victorians have a job. The City of Wyndham is a priority area for investment, with procurement starting straight away to build new homes.

The Budget also includes $272 million to build new law courts in Wyndham, including a new headquarter court with 13 courtrooms, four hearing rooms, three mediation suites, and a Specialist Family Violence Court.

This Budget recognises that as we grow, our infrastructure needs to grow too – that’s why we’re extending our Growing Suburbs Fund. On top of the $25 million boost earlier this year, an additional $50 million will help build new local facilities – from playgrounds to sporting pavilions – bringing communities together while also supporting local jobs.

A new $20 million Suburban Revitalisation and Growth package will also help revitalise the centre of Tarneit, delivering great local spaces and supporting local jobs.

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. This investment will also deliver targeted and tailored support for those who need it – such as mentoring, career counselling or more intensive support.

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.

This year’s Budget will help 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.

An extra 250,000 low-income households will benefit from new more efficient heating and cooling, while heating, cooling or hot water systems will be upgraded across an extra 35,000 social housing homes – reducing bills for tenants and making winter and summer more comfortable.

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.

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 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.

We also want to make sure we continue to give patients flexibility in their care, allowing them to choose what is best for them and their families. This Budget will invest $121 million for ‘Better at Home’, increasing the delivery of hospital services in patients’ homes – ensuring these Victorians can recuperate in the comfort of their own home.

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 Tarneit Sarah Connolly

“The Budget invests in our community and puts people first. We will continue investing in the first-rate schools, healthcare and local community facilities the people of Tarneit need and deserve.”

“Our schools have done an amazing job supporting students this year. We’ll keep supporting our students and teachers, investing in new schools to keep up with the needs of our growing community.”

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