Ballarat funding in budget for school, transport, Wi-Fi, emergency services hub

AFTER a flurry of visits from politicians spruiking announcements, many significant measures to be contained in Tuesday’s state budget are well known.

It seems like Ballarat hasn’t gone a week without a visit from a Coalition politicians in the lead-up to the state budget as both parties move into election mode. 

Education Minister Martin Dixon has announced $7.8 million for Ballarat High School which will be included in Tuesday’s state budget. 

Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Minister for Ports David Hodgett also announced the government would lease the state-owned Port of Melbourne to help fund infrastructure projects in the budget. 

Fixing public transport has already been put on the agenda with a $40 million commitment which will mean Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon train commuters get free Wi-Fi on V/Line trains as well as solving mobile phone coverage problems in fire prone areas. 

 Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien ahead of the budget.  PICTURE: Angela Wylie

Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien ahead of the budget. PICTURE: Angela Wylie

The Courier also reported the Ballarat train line would specially receive some relief with a passing loop to be built near Bacchus Marsh, with the Ballan station also receiving an upgrade in a $14.3 million investment.

Ballarat residents can also expect to see some indication of how much it will cost to have Wi-Fi in the city centre, which was announced in March this year.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the announcement, little is known about the costs, except for the fact it will be in operation before the end of the year. 

An $8 million emergency services hub will also be included in the budget. 

The hub, to be constructed in Lucas with funding used to buy the land and also build the new police station, however, stops short of committing to building a new fire station and ambulance depot. 

Statewide, the East-West Link continues to be one of the bigger projects with Road Minister Terry Mulder visiting Ballarat last week to spruik what the project means for regional Victoria. 

The Courier will have the latest on budget details at from 3.30pm today.