The year ahead: How the State Budget inuences our region

09 May 2018 Mansfield Courier, Mansfield VIC THE State Government is investing $4.3 billion for regional Victoria; ensuring regional communities have reliable roads and rail, good schools and quality healthcare. Skilled workers are in demand across regional Victoria and more than ever. To ensure that cost never stops people from getting the right skills, it includes $172 million to make priority TAFE and pre-apprenticeship courses free. More students will be able to access this training, with $304 million to open new classes and fund more than 30,000 new training places. With new Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships, students will be given the option to undertake an additional year of high school, and graduate with an apprenticeship or traineeship. An extra $44 million will also update learning materials, introduce independent assessments and bring back trade papers to make sure apprentices are trained properly. There is also a careers education haul in Victorias secondary schools to make sure our kids get better and earlier advice, so they can make the right choices for their future. The budget also includes $181 million to build, plan and upgrade 60 regional schools. Local schools to benefit include Manseld Secondary, Wangaratta District Specialist, Euroa Secondary, Tallarook Primary and Winton Primary. There is also $6.5 million for a new outdoor education campus for the Alpine School in Don Valley. This is about boosting jobs and making sure the North East remains a great place to live, said Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria). She also said mental illness is hurting communities and families, so the budget will invest $705 million to give Victorians the treatment they need, which includes more rehab beds, more mental health support workers, new and upgraded specialist facilities across the state. A further $50 million will boost the governments agship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund which will upgrade hospitals such as those in Wangaratta and Benalla, ensuring regional Victorians can get the best healthcare wherever they live. Businesses across the North East will hopefully benet from additional payroll tax cuts. The regional payroll tax rate will be 2.425 per cent, which is half the metropolitan tax rate and the lowest rate in the nation. Wherever you live, this is a Labor budget that delivers on the things that matter new skills, good jobs, more schools and better roads, said Premier Daniel Andrews. Its an investment in the big projects that regional Victoria needs and the people we need to deliver them.