FINALLY! At last! About time!
The state government is now taking notice of the justifiable grumblings of V/Line commuters between Ballarat and Melbourne and are fixing our ailing rail system.
In the State Budget on Wednesday, $518 million was allocated to fix the region’s troubled railway. This includes upgrading and duplicating a 17 kilometre stretch of track between Deer Park West and Melton; duplication of three kilometres of track west of Warrenheip; $280 million for 27 new V/Locity carriages; second platforms at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations; and adding three crossing loops at Bungaree, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh.
What will be having regular commuters jumping for joy will be two extra services in the morning and afternoon peak and a train every 40 minutes in the off-peak.
This will help to alleviate the overcrowding regularly experienced on Ballarat to Melbourne trains.
Wednesday’s State Budget was also good news for other sectors of the Ballarat region, with announcements of $4.2 million for the construction of a Ballarat Innovation Lab and digital space in the CBD set to bring 200 ICT jobs to the city; $8.1 million to modernise and upgrade city's schools (including Ballarat Secondary College and Mount Clear Secondary).
An additional $80.7 million will be invested over four years to decommission and remediate the site of the former Fiskville training facility and conduct environmental audits and upgrades at six other operational emergency management training centres across regional Victoria.
The state government has invested money to create four new overtaking lanes between Bannockburn and Meredith. For the many regular commuters on that road, the upgrades will make it safer for motorists, giving them the opportunity to safely overtake slower vehicles.
But it’s the $572 million investment in family violence support that will benefit not only those living in Ballarat, but around the state.
More Victorians fleeing family violence will have a roof over their heads and the help they need to escape harm and rebuild their lives under the multi-million dollar funding boost over two years.
The funds will go towards more housing and crisis refuges, more counsellors, more prevention programs and more support for children who are victims of family violence.
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