The Victorian Budget 2020-21 has been released and includes significant funding for landmark infrastructure projects including the Suburban Rail Loop, Geelong Fast Rail, Murray Basin Rail Project, Dandenong Corridor, and the construction of 100 new trams, among others.
The Victorian Government said the budget includes a major investment in the vital projects that will serve passengers and motorists for decades to come and create thousands of jobs.
In his budget speech Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas, said, “We know the best cities in the world are the ones where you spend more time enjoying life, and less time waiting in traffic.
“This Budget builds on our record transport investment with more than $10 billion for
better roads and public transport.”
Some of the key infrastructure budget announcements include:
Suburban Rail Loop
This year’s Budget provides $2.2 billion to get works underway on the Suburban Rail Loop project, creating up to 800 direct jobs – with project development, geotechnical and utility work to get started.
The Suburban Rail Loop will link every major railway line from the Frankston line to the Werribee line via the airport, providing important connections to employment, health, education and retail centres in Melbourne’s middle suburbs. Three new super hubs will be established at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine, connecting regional passengers to the network.
The Suburban Rail Loop will create up to 20,000 jobs during construction and kick-start the careers of 2,000 apprentices, trainees and cadets.
Geelong Fast Rail
The Victorian Government will invest $2 billion in the Geelong Fast Rail project to reduce travel times between Geelong and Melbourne and carry more passengers on the state’s busiest regional rail line. This matches the Commonwealth’s commitment to the project.
Shepparton and Warrnambool Line Upgrades
The Budget includes Victoria’s share of $660 million to deliver the next stages of the Shepparton and Warrnambool Line Upgrades – giving regional Victorians more reliable travel to and from Melbourne.
Stage 3 of the Shepparton Line Upgrade will allow trains to travel up to 130km/h to enable nine weekday return services to and from Melbourne, while Stage 2 of the Warrnambool Line Upgrade will upgrade the track to enable VLocity trains to the state’s south-west for the very first time.
Murray Basin Rail Project
The Budget commits $48.8 million to deliver Victoria’s share of funding for the Murray Basin Rail Project’s next steps.
The government said work on the Murray Basin Rail Project must start as soon as possible ahead of the next grain season to deliver benefits to Victorian farmers and freight operators.
The Budget includes $276.5 million for the final stages on the Dandenong Corridor that will allow faster train speeds by upgrading infrastructure before the deployment of High Capacity Metro Trains, which are being assembled in Melbourne and are supporting 1,100 jobs.
It also includes $5.5 million to plan important track works near Caulfield Station and $4.4 million to deliver a pedestrian crossing and drop-off zone for the new school in the Fitzroy Gasworks renewal precinct.
Increasing industry gender diversity
To boost diversity and equality within the transport sector, the Victorian Government will invest $2.4 million to encourage women of all ages and backgrounds to join the workforce through scholarship programs and initiatives to support career development.
Construction of 100 new modern trams
$1.48 billion will be invested in building 100 new modern, accessible trams that will progressively replace Victoria’s aging A and Z class trams, and develop a new maintenance facility to keep the state’s rolling stock on-track and up-to-scratch.
This is the largest tram order in Victoria in decades and will support close to 1,900 local manufacturing and supply chain jobs at the peak of production.
It’ll also build the state’s advanced manufacturing capability, helping Victorian workers and businesses develop skills in cutting-edge transport technology.
The Budget will accelerate work to transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet, with a $20 million trial of zero-emission buses to keep Victorians moving.
Maintenance and improvement works
Infrastructure upgrade works include:
- $255 million for improvements to the Great Ocean Road and surrounds, delivering a pipeline of over 390 local jobs
- $48 million to strengthen bridges and replace older intelligent transport systems with new more modern technology
- $31.4 million in upgrades on freight routes that will improve journeys for farmers and processors in Victoria’s vital south-west dairy supply chain
- A further $411 million to resurface, rebuild and maintain 1,700km of roads
- A $117 million package of road and intersection upgrades across Melbourne
- $63.4 million will support safer journeys to and from school, building new pedestrian and cycling infrastructure across Victoria
- A further $187.6 million will go towards upgrades and maintenance on the V/Line network
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “By building our state, we’re rebuilding the economy – getting thousands of Victorians back in work and preparing our transport network for generations to come.
“Through regional rail upgrades and a faster train service to Geelong, we’re connecting communities, reducing congestion on busy roads and supporting thousands of regional jobs.
“With every dollar of investment and every ounce of concrete, we’ll also be able to get Victorians home to their loved ones sooner.”
This year’s Budget builds on Victoria’s unprecedented program of transport infrastructure – with $70 billion of work already underway across the state including the Metro Tunnel, removing 75 level crossings and the North East Link.
Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the billions of dollars in funding would change the future of transport in Victoria.
Ms Wilkie said the $2.2 billion for the Suburban Rail Loop project and $1.48 billion to build 100 new trams would deliver significant, tangible and long term benefits to the economy and community.
“This is a huge investment in rail infrastructure that will change how the people travel to school and work for the better,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The Victorian Government’s commitment to these city shaping infrastructure projects and Australian-made rolling stock is a real win for the people of Melbourne and wider Victoria.
“These projects will deliver a modern, efficient and sustainable rail network to support the growth of the state for years to come.”
Funding to improve planning processes
The Victorian Government will invest $111 million to unlock Victoria’s planning system, speeding up delivery of vital major projects and boosting construction of social and affordable housing – and the jobs that go with them.
- $38 million to improve planning processes, as recommended by the Commissioner for Better Regulation, streamlining decision-making and giving the private sector greater certainty to invest, create jobs and bring their business to Victoria
- The creation of a new assessment model for development proposals greater than $50 million
- $3.86 million to streamline the approval pathway, making it easier for private builders to include social and affordable housing in their developments
- $15.7 million to deliver ongoing upgrades to help maintain and improve digital systems for permit and planning scheme amendments
- $4 million to help councils upgrade their digital planning permit systems making it easier to lodge and track permits online
- $14 million to the Victorian Planning Authority, including funding the Streamlining for Growth program
- $2 million will go towards a trial of an innovative new 3D spatial data program called Digital Twin Victoria
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, as well as supporting around 10,000 jobs, per year over the next four years, to supercharge Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond.
Digital technology has been pivotal in keeping Victorians connected during the pandemic, whether it’s going online to update your licence or sitting down for an important conference with colleagues, the safety and reliability of this technology is crucial.
The 2021 Budget’s digital funding includes:
- $195.9 million to establish Digital Victoria to centralise and simplify the Victorian Government’s IT services
- $7.5 million to bolster the state’s cybersecurity and protect systems from cyber criminals
- $75 million over the next four years to overhaul government regulation
View the full budget here.