Treasurer Tim Pallas has announced the budget for Victoria today with the budget bottom line looking quite bleak. With net debt of $101.9b at the end of this financial year, it will only get worse over the forthcoming years. This accounts for 19.8% of the state’s economy.
The major selling point of this year’s budget is the big spend on healthcare and transport. And also, the regional and rural areas of Victoria.
$12b had been allocated towards health with 400 triple 0 call centre workers to be hired for $333m, 90 more paramedics costing $124m, Melton hospital build at $900m, a $1.5b plan to tackle the ever-growing elective surgery waiting list, $500m to expand Barwon women and children’s hospital. $236m will also be spent on expanding emergency departments at Werribee hospital and Casey hospital.
$4.2b has been set aside for Rapid Antigen tests and other Covid measures. Another $1.3b for mental health measures implemented by the royal commission.
The education sector also received a healthy boost with every special school being upgraded and 13 new schools to be built. And money was set aside to bring in 1900 more teachers.
Transport and infrastructure are the cornerstone projects of the Andrews Labor government. Level crossing removals will still be heavily invested in, with 12 more train lines added to the Shepparton and Warnambool lines at a cost of $250m.
Big build projects are still costing more than $5b in blowouts.
$101m for regional road upgrades.
With the Commonwealth Games to be hosted in the regional centres, $2.6b has been allocated to build the required infrastructure for the events.
Now onto the not-so-good outlook for other areas.
Public sector wages are currently capped at 1.5%, well below inflation rates, but the treasurer said he might look into it at a later stage and review it. This is a savings of $1.7b for the government.
The budget is predicting a 4% drop in housing prices across high-value properties.
Indigenous affairs will receive the same funding as before, with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service stating it requires more so they can expand into regional and rural areas.
Consumers can also apply once again for the Victorian Energy Compare rebate of $250 from the 1st of July for $250m to the government.
Population growth is to remain at a level of 1.2%