Budget promises school upgrades and hospital site

Upgrades to local schools, the start of a new community hospital, and more affordable housing are some of the wins for the City of Whittlesea in the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget.

Chair Administrator Ms Lydia Wilson congratulated the State Government for handing down a well-rounded budget.

“This year’s budget looks very different to previous years with state-wide projects prioritised, however we are very pleased to share in funding that will deliver much-needed services for our community,” Ms Wilson said.

“Investment in schools in established areas is very important and we welcome upgrades to Lalor Primary ($12.9M), Lalor Secondary ($26.17M), Mill Park Secondary ($11.6M) and Peter Lalor Secondary College ($8.2M).

“We are also delighted to see funding allocated for the purchase of a new community hospital site in our municipality, and for more mental health initiatives at Epping’s Northern Hospital.

“The current rate of social and affordable housing in our municipality is very low and demand far outstrips supply. The Big Housing Build initiative is a positive step in the right direction for housing policy and it is great news that the City of Whittlesea has been named as a priority site.”

While no local road duplication projects were specifically listed in this years’ budget, Council will advocate for its share of the funding reserved for metropolitan road projects.

“We thank our local members of parliament for continuing to advocate on behalf of local communities, identifying projects and providing funding for local community needs and we look forward to securing funding for additional projects from the state-wide budget allocations.”

Other funded local initiatives included in the State Budget

Education

Major upgrades to local specialist schools:

  • $10 million at Concord School in Bundoora
  • $3.39 million at Merriang Special Development School

Environment

  • Funding for the 10-year Recycling Victoria action plan to transform Victoria’s recycling sector and develop a circular economy. Key initiatives include a four-bin waste and recycling system and container deposit scheme.

Health

  • A Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund will be established to allow health services to respond to local priorities and maintain and enhance their service delivery capacity.

Community and Sporting facilities

  • An additional $13 million to expand local public library services.
  • $110 million for the Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program to build and upgrade community sports facilities across the State, partnering with local communities and councils.
  • An additional $27 million for new and upgraded community sport and recreation facilities, including community club lighting and scoreboards, seniors’ community sports infrastructure, community football and netball facilities and female friendly changerooms.

Parks

  • $52 million to upgrade eight Parks Victoria sites including Hawkstowe Park (part of Plenty Gorge Park) and Yan Yean Reservoir.

Public Transport

  • $1.3 million in bus improvements to address critical safety issues, accelerate the delivery of a new bus service connecting Mernda and Craigieburn and improve school special services at five locations, including The Lakes South Morang College.

Roads and road safety

  • One year of funding will be provided to local government to supervise school crossings and increase road safety around schools.

Local Government general funds

  • $100 million in loans will be available to Councils as part of the Local Government community loan scheme, to build vital community infrastructure that supports social and economic participation
  • $3.1 million is provided to the Metropolitan Partnerships Program to continue delivering specific and meaningful projects for their regions.
  • $1 million is provided for the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Planning program, which supports the critical role of local government authorities’ emergency preparedness, mitigation and recovery activities.

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