Important infrastructure spending
Underpinned by the biggest infrastructure investment in Victoria’s history, the Andrews Labor Government has renewed its commitment to a “bold and ambitious plan” to “transform our state and deliver for all Victorians.”
With economic growth ahead of national averages and unemployment rates below those of other states, the Victorian budget estimates a $1b surplus for the 2019-20 financial year, despite a $5.2b write down in stamp duty revenues.
The importance of the hospitality industry as a contributor to jobs growth in Victoria is reflected by the fact that our sector has seen 42,500 new jobs created, between the period 2013-14 to 2017-18. This ranks fourth of sixteen industry sectors measured, ahead of traditionally strong contributors like education, agriculture, manufacturing and financial services.
Importantly, the 2019-20 Budget allocates $32m to market Victoria to intra and interstate and international visitors to Victoria. This includes continued funding for the Victorian Tourism Awards and Regional Tourism Boards.
Key fiscal performance metrics
- Economic growth of 3.5 per cent for our State in 2017-18, outstripping national economic growth at 2.8 per cent.
- Victoria’s unemployment rate sits at 4.6 per cent, with 450,000 new jobs created since November 2014.
- Government infrastructure investments are averaging $13.4b, per year
- The comparative average over the period 2005/06 – 2014/15 was $4.9b per year.
- This level of investment is expected to create 115,000 new jobs.
- Estimated economic surplus of $1b in 2019/20, in a challenging economic climate which included a $5.2b stamp duty write down.
- Net debt will be stabilised at 12 per cent of Gross State Product over the medium term
- This debt will help fund three major infrastructure projects, the North East Link; Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the removal of an additional 25 level crossings.
- $50m allocation of Commonwealth funding for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, for business case development, design and pre-construction works.
- $15.9m each year, over the next three years, to continue to fund the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Summer Program, deliver the NGV Triennial of Contemporary Art and Design and support maintenance and management of exhibitions at the NGV.
- A $7m commitment to further redevelop the State Library of Victoria.
- $4.5m each year, over the next three years, to deliver on an Election commitment to deliver “Victoria Live”
- Victoria Live is a 10 day, state-wide music festival, that will showcase the best Melbourne and Victoria has to offer, in regard to live music, events, local food, wine and craft beer.
- The event will commence in winter 2020.
- $2.8m further funding to support the redevelopment project of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
- $4.5m in 2019/20 allocated to Museums Victoria for the renewal of exhibitions at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks and production of new Planetarium shows.
- $4m this year and $1m in 2020/21 allocated to inbound trade missions and World Expo 2020.
- This funding recognises the importance of inbound trade missions in bringing international business delegates to Melbourne.
- $1.5m funding to contribute to the delivery of a master plan for the redevelopment of the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
- $1m for each of the next three years to establish a dedicated “India Cinema and Bollywood Attraction Fund,” to attract Indian screen projects to Victoria and support Victoria’s local film industry.
- $300,000 for each of the next four years to provide a grants program to create silo art and large scale murals.
- Grants of up to $200,000 will be available to primary producers of small scale and craft food and beverages (including wineries and brewers) to scale up their operations, create local jobs and increase Victoria’s agricultural exports.
- $425m allocated to fixing and maintaining Victoria’s regional roads network.
- $128m to deliver the third (and final) stage of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre redevelopment.
- $106m to attract visitors to Victoria’s ‘great outdoors,’ including 30 new campsites, 30 upgraded campsites, a new coastal park on the Bass Coast and iconic ‘Sea to Summit’ hiking trail in East Gippsland.
- $72m to deliver club upgrades, integrity measures, training facilities and race day attraction programs across the state
- A $40m boost to prize money also recognises the racing industry’s role as a key employer of 33,000 Victorians.
- $32m funding for Visit Victoria, to support marketing campaigns to encourage visitation, particularly in regional Victoria.
- This amount also accounts for continued funding of Regional Tourism Boards.
- $57m for the Building Better TAFEs Fund that commit to upgrading and redevelopment projects to improve education pathways
- This includes $23.5m for new state-of-the-art training facilities for cookery and hospitality students at The Gordon in Geelong.
- $10m to restore and redevelop the iconic Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat.
- $5.7m for collaborative Aboriginal cultural heritage management, including supporting the nomination of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (Macarthur, South West Victoria) for World Heritage listing.
- $3m to enhance Hanging Rock, with stronger environmental protections and upgraded facilities.
- $1.5m for a new statutory authority, set up to protect the Great Ocean Road, its environment and communities.
- $1.3m each year, for the next three years, for a scenic railway enhancement program to boost tourism in the Yarra Valley
- This includes upgrades to the track and bridges between Healesville and Tarrawarra Estate and the redevelopment of Healesville Railway Station.
- $1m to make the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail bigger and better, to attract more tourists and create additional jobs.
Transport infrastructure programs remain a central focus in the 2019/20 Victorian State Budget. Notable announcements include:
- A $15.8b commitment to fully fund the North East Link
- $6.6b to remove another 25 of Victoria’s most dangerous level crossings, with a total commitment to remove 75 crossings by 2025.
- $3.4b to transform the suburban train network, with upgrades scheduled for the Sunbury and Hurstbridge lines and duplication of the Cranbourne line.
- $49.6m to build three new train stations in and around Bendigo, to provide a better service to local communities.
- A commitment to increase the payroll tax-free threshold of $650,000 to $700,000 by 2022-23, with $25,000 increments in each of the two preceding financial years.
- $4.5m allocated in 2019/20 to the Victorian Building Authority to continue to inspect building permits, to improve the safety of external building claddings in Victoria.