There are still concerns regarding how infrastructure and housing will keep up with growth in Ballarat after the city was somewhat overlooked in this year's federal budget, but mental health and aged care funding will skyrocket.
The $2.3 billion allocated for more accessible mental health services - online and in-person - combined with a new national approach to suicide prevention, could make a huge difference in regional cities like Ballarat, however so far there is no exact detail on how and where this money will be spent over the next four years.
Similarly, the $17.7 billion aged care splash in response to the recent Royal Commission, and billions in new initiatives to boost employment and re-skilling, could present opportunities in Ballarat, which is facing a shortage in many areas.
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Ballarat was not singled out for any big infrastructure projects, but the nationwide Building Better Regions and Local Roads and Community Infrastructure funds received boosts.
Low- and middle-income earners will also benefit from tax cuts, and a small business asset write-off program will be extended.
New initiatives to help first home buyers enter the market were also announced, but only 10,000 spaces each for a new single-parent scheme - where only a two per cent deposit is needed - and for people building new homes, who'll only require a five per cent deposit.
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said Ballarat will continue to benefit from previously-announced infrastructure projects, and the new budget measures will "leave no one behind".
"The budget makes childcare more affordable for families, funds essential infrastructure, supports new construction jobs and home ownership and provides record funding for schools, hospitals, aged care, mental health and the NDIS," she said in a statement.
"For regional Victoria, there is more funding for local roads, mobile communications, drought resilience, community infrastructure, manufacturing and skills training.
"Our government's record investment in suicide prevention, home care packages and women's safety including those fleeing family violence will change lives.
"Greater support for small and family businesses, the engine room of so many regional communities, and tax relief for more than 10 million hard-working Australians will help build a stronger economy and create more jobs."
Ballarat MP Catherine King said she was glad to see funding allocated for aged care and mental health support, but it was less than what will be needed.
"We've been calling for some time for there to be significant work done on suicide prevention, particularly those early days after someone's presented to an emergency department," she said.
"We'll look at the detail, I'm pleased they've put money into mental health, particularly in area of eating disorders, but it's not just about putting money into an area, it's about actually about reforming how the system works, it's just providing more money for different programs.
"I want to make sure some of that comes into the regions, often a lot of the money does go into big cities, and trying to get some of that money out to provide services directly into the regions would be really critical."
It was "disappointing" not to see any Ballarat infrastructure projects supported, like the Link Road and airport, she added, while the lack of targeted regional housing support is a "missed opportunity.
"Other than some initiatives again around people having to draw on their own savings, there really isn't any investment in trying to make housing and accommodation more affordable in our regions," she said.
Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton said broadly, the economy was "better than anyone expected 12 months ago", but more detail was needed on how the budget allocations would actually be spent.
"I don't know there's enough in what we've heard so far to know there's a net gain for Ballarat," he said.
"The infrastructure spend sounds like a big number, but it's over 10 years, so how much is just announcement versus planning?
"There's significant money to improve women's safety - you'd hope regional areas such as ours that do suffer from high rates of domestic violence, there'd be some money there for us to make us better off in the longer-term."
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However he criticised the lack of attention paid to reducing emissions.
"There's a new natural disaster agency, to lead the response to emergencies, but little on reducing impacts of climate change which causes them," he said.
"The only bit about the new energy future was gas plants - in a long-term view, we need to be looking at more than just hydrogen and carbon storage."
View the full budget papers online.
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.
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