What the 2014 Victorian budget means for Ballarat

Treasurer Michael O'Brien on his way to deliver the 2014 Victorian budget. PICTURE: MICHAEL CLAYTON-JONES

Treasurer Michael O'Brien on his way to deliver the 2014 Victorian budget. PICTURE: MICHAEL CLAYTON-JONES

EDUCATION

A $7.8 million investment to help modernise the Ballarat High School was included in the budget, however it stopped short of any mention of a new primary school in Lucas as mooted in The Courier on Tuesday.

In total the budget included a $500 million fund for capital works programs for schools across the state including new schools in Torquay, North Geelong and Bannockburn.

EMPLOYMENT

A $30.2 million investment to kickstart the Ballarat West  Employment Zone was one of the surprises to come out of the budget.

Stage one of the employment zone will include a subdivision of lots, construction of internal roads, installation of services and marketing and sale costs of the land.  

HEALTH

A additional $1.4 billion will be invested in hospitals and health services over the next four years from the 2014-15 budget, however no new funding for Ballarat was announced Tuesday.

There is already a $46 million upgrade underway for Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital.

POLICE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES 

As previously reported in The Courier, $8.4 million in funding for a new emergency services hub in the Ballarat’s West was included in the budget. However the funding stops short of delivering the whole project, only providing for a new police station and the acquisition of land.

A further $17.9 million will be used to purchase 49 new CFA medium tankers, which will be distributed across the state.

JUSTICE

It was announced $453 million will be invested across the state to ensure the prison system meets future demands.

An additional 871 prison beds will be added across the state with $87.5 million specifically listed as creating 203 brand new prison beds at medium term facilities.

Both Beechworth and Langi Kal Kal are specifically noted as locations for the new beds with preliminary works also underway for a further 300 beds at medium term facilities.

ROADS

Pre-construction will be funded for the Ararat and Beaufort bypasses for the Western Highway.

Elsewhere in the state, $362 million will be provided for duplication of the Princes Highway from Winchelsea to Colac.  

RAIL

The previously announced $14.3 million passing loop near Bacchus Marsh will help to cut down on delays experienced by Ballarat commuters. Part of this funding will also be used for works on the Ballan train station. 

Up to $220 million will be provided for the Murray Basin rail project which will involve rail standardisation and an upgrade of the Mildura rail line.

A $39.7 million investment into communications will ensure commuters on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon train lines will be able to access free public wi-fi.

The funding will also help to alleviate mobile phone black spot areas in fire prone areas.

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