The city’s troubled train line was a clear winner in the Victorian budget but a much-needed school for Ballarat’s fastest growing region was overlooked.
Major projects unveiled in the state government’s second budget for Ballarat included a $518 million upgrade to the Ballarat line which has suffered severe performance issues over the past nine months and a $4.2 million pot of money to build a new innovation lab and digital hub in the city’s Central Business District.
Prior to the state budget on Wednesday $8 million was announced to upgrade the city’s ailing schools including $3 million for Ballarat Secondary College and $2.1 million for Mount Clear Secondary College.
Ballarat MP Josh Morris criticised the state government’s failure to invest into building a public primary school in Lucas with the population in the region soaring and Alfredton Primary School struggling to keep pace.
“Families in Lucas still have no school to send children to and as the region grows more pressure is being placed on existing schools,” he said.
Despite family violence forming the main focus for the government's safety agenda including an allocation of $572 million for 65 of the most urgent recommendations from the Family Violence Royal Commission, there was no word on how any funds will be distributed in Ballarat.
Roads were also a winner, with more than $10 million allocated for the construction of four new overtaking lanes between Bannockburn and Meredith.
Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the major works on the Ballarat rail line would be completed by 2019.
"Now that we have the funding in the budget we can work quickly through the tender process," Ms Allan said. "We will want to move as quickly as we can to 2017 to award the tender but certainly it is a big package of works with not just duplication, but also passing loops, extra capacity and works on train stations.”
A new Country Fire Authority Training Centre was also funded in the Central Highlands region after the Fiskville centre was shut down due to high levels of toxins found in local water.
Questions remain over where the centre will be housed with the initial site in Ballan scrapped.
Ballarat will also receive a huge boost to help tackle ice in the region with the government announcing a $6 million treatment facility earlier this month.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.