Four Ballarat schools will have building projects fast-tracked to start in the next six months after the state government launched a $2.7 billion Building Works package to help get people back to work.
While the construction blitz is good news for schools, Delacombe Primary School principal Scott Phillips said building projects were also beneficial for the wider community.
Of the $2.7 billion Building Works package, $1.18 billion will be invested in education infrastructure projects including $5.85 million for Delacombe Primary, on top of $650,000 already received in last year's budget, to build a new indoor competition-grade gymnasium.
Not only will the school use the gym for sports, assemblies and other events, Mr Phillips hopes basketball clubs. community groups and other users of Doug Dean Reserve will also benefit from the new building.
"We have been fortunate to have Doug Dean Stadium at the back of our school for some years, but the rent on that stadium has increased, so to have our own stadium on our own school site is something we are really pleased about," he said.
"We have always envisaged for this stadium how it can function for school and how it can function for the community."
Changerooms will be able to be opened toward the reserve, offering potential for girls football teams to develop at the reserve, or Ballarat rugby to use the facilities.
With plans finalised, Mr Phillips said contractors could be appointed within two months and construction begin soon after that - well inside the government's six-month target for all projects funded under the Building Works program to begin.
Phoenix P-12 Community College will also receive almost $10.6 million to build two new indoor competition grade courts and relocate existing tennis courts, in addition to $1.18 million it received in the last budget.
Ballarat High School will receive $7.2 million to upgrade the ground floor of the J. J. Sheehan Wing and the administration building, building on the $800,000 it received in the Victorian Budget 2019-20.
And Miners Rest Primary School will also get a new competition grade gymnasium and football oval as part of a $15.39 million investment that will also deliver extra land for the school to expand, new permanent classrooms and learning facilities.
All four projects were promised during the 2018 election campaign.
Buninyong MP Michaela Settle said the works package would help create local jobs and stimulate the Ballarat economy.
"It's not just trades that benefit when we put money in to the economy - everyone benefits from local manufacturers and suppliers to cafes and restaurants that provide people's lunch. This is going to have impact and it's going to be fast.
"These schools were selected because they are shovel-ready projects. We need to get these jobs moving now."
Hundreds of jobs promised through fund
It is estimated that the state government's massive Building Works project will create 3700 new jobs across the state, including several hundred in the Ballarat region.
Victoria's the engine room of the nation – and today I announced our plan to kick things back into gear.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) May 17, 2020
We're creating jobs. We're boosting the economy. And we're doing what Victoria does best:
We're building big.https://t.co/CqciBXLuR6pic.twitter.com/Qz2Bche9Su
Alongside the major investment in schools, the package also includes money for public and social housing, tourism, transport, sports facilities, upgrades for CFA and SES stations and more.
A key requirement for companies winning tenders for the hundreds of projects is that they are ready go start the project quickly, and they find new employees through Working for Victoria.
Among the projects is $110 million for a public housing maintenance blitz.
"We know that here in Ballarat, bathroom and kitchen upgrades are an important aspect of this announcement," said Wendouree MP Juliana Addison.
"New kitchens and bathrooms will bring their homes up to date and make sure they do not just have a house, but a place to call home. Public and social housing is so important in Ballarat ... we know demand is there and we are committed to addressing that."
A $36.3 million investment in to the maintenance and sustainability of the V/Line fleet will include works in Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne to support local jobs..
The package also includes $10.3 million to fund solar panels on public buildings, with Ballarat Table Tennis Association, Child and Family Services Ballarat, Ballarat Cemetery Trust, Ballarat Regional Industries, Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Club, McCallum Disability Services, Old Colonists Association of Victoria, and UnitingCare Australia all to receive solar panels.
YOU MIGHT LIKE: May's run of cold nights unusual as frosts arrive early
Ballarat may also see projects through the Emergency Services Refurbishment Fund, which includes the CFA and SES, the local roads to markets program, rail reserve hazardous tree and vegetation management, regional rail maintenance and addressing landslips for regional communities.
In addition, the annual Maryborough Energy Breakthrough will receive a $1.5 million boost.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.