The 2019 Victorian Budget will deliver significant gains for Brimbank across infrastructure, education and health care – responding to Council’s key advocacy asks, Brimbank Mayor Cr Lucinda Congreve said.
“Brimbank Council has been campaigning to secure real jobs, transport, education, and fairness outcomes for our community, and we’re extremely pleased to see the State Budget delivering a number of key initiatives that will help us to realise these goals.
“We were delighted that the Budget responds to Council’s calls for Sunshine to be identified as a new Priority Precinct – which will ensure new development is properly planned to protect Sunshine’s liveability, while delivering new jobs, business and educational opportunities.
“We look forward to working together with all levels of government to ensure the potential community impacts and benefits are carefully considered,” Cr Congreve said.
The Budget confirms a number of Victorian Government commitments to Brimbank, including removal of three level crossings in Fitzgerald Road, Ardeer and in Mt Derrimut Road and Robinsons Road in Deer Park.
It also allocates $100 million towards separating regional and metro rail lines on the Geelong and Ballarat lines under the Western Rail Plan and reaffirms the Victorian Government’s commitment to building the Melbourne Airport Rail Link with a stop at Sunshine.
“Together with the Suburban Rail Loop, these projects confirm Sunshine’s position as a key economic and social hub for Melbourne’s West and regional Victoria – with potential to deliver enormous economic, jobs, educational and social benefits to Brimbank and the West.
Cr Congreve also welcomed investment in education – including continuing free TAFE for priority courses – and the ‘Big Build’ and ‘Social Services’ apprenticeships programs which will help to train people for jobs in growth sectors including major infrastructure projects and human services.
“Major rail infrastructure projects across Melbourne’s West have the potential to create jobs for a new generation of workers – Council welcomes this investment in the TAFE sector which will support many in our community to gain the skills and training needed to access these jobs.
“Education unlocks opportunities and can transform lives – so we are also delighted to see additional investment in local schools, and early childhood education,” Cr Congreve said.
Local schools set to benefit from the State’s school upgrades program include Sunshine College, Sunshine North Primary School, Sunshine Special Development School and Victoria University Secondary College.
The State Budget also invests $880 million to begin the rollout of 15 hours of subsidised kindergarten for all three-year-olds by 2029.
“We know through our work as part of Growing Brimbank that many families in our community face significant barriers to accessing early childhood education – so this investment is very welcome and much-needed.
“Council will continue to work with State Government to determine how to best support local kindergartens to manage the additional demand for services that this initiative will generate,” Cr Congreve said.
Cr Congreve said investment in health – including free dental care for government school students; support for new parents; continued funding for the Sunshine Hospital Emergency Department upgrade; and funding for the new Footscray Hospital would also benefit Brimbank residents.
“The new 504-bed Footscray Hospital will complement services at Sunshine Hospital and the new Joan Kirner Hospital – helping to support growing demand for health care across the West,” Cr Congreve said.
Cr Congreve said Council would continue to advocate for State and Federal government investment in the new Australian-first Health and Wellbeing Hub, to be built in Keilor Downs.
“The much-needed Health and Wellbeing Hub will replace the tired old St Albans Leisure Centre and include a state-of-the-art aquatic and leisure centre alongside preventative health services.
“While Council remains hopeful that the Victorian Government will commit financially to this project, we will continue to look for opportunities to pursue additional investment through health and sport and recreation funding applications, as well as private sector opportunities,” Cr Congreve said.
Cr Congreve said Council also welcomed the State Government’s $35 million investment to strengthen and diversify Victoria’s waste and recycling industry.
In a recent submission to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Recycling and Waste Management, Brimbank Council called on the Victorian Government to re-evaluate waste disposal and recycling services, along with the impact of levies and capacity to address ongoing issues around commercial, industrial, household and Hazardous waste disposal.
“In recent months we have seen significant recycling and waste disposal issues creating headlines – from illegal dumping and storage of waste, to the inability of current recycling service providers to cope with demand.
“The Victorian Government’s investment to support the recycling industry, combat illegal stockpiling and strengthen the Environment Protection Authority are an important step – but we would also call on them to ensure waste processing and storage is distributed equally and fairly across Victoria.
“For far too long Melbourne’s west has unfairly absorbed a large portion of Victoria’s waste, the effects of which we are still feeling today,” Cr Congreve said.