Victoria Budget 2020 winners and losers
The Victorian Government is borrowing and spending billions to help the state's economy recover from the pandemic. There aren't many immediate losers in a big-spending budget like this, but all the wins come at a cost.
Winner: Social housing
Construction on some projects will start immediately and a quarter of the funding will be allocated to regional Victoria.
The package will create 9,300 new social housing homes, including 2,000 specifically for Victorians with mental illness.
More than 1,000 old public housing units managed by the state will be replaced.
The package will also build 2,900 low-cost homes for low-to-moderate income earners.
Winner: Rail projects
Billions of dollars has been allocated for transport infrastructure.
There's $2.2 billion for early works on the first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop, which will run between Cheltenham and Box Hill.
The Melbourne Airport Rail Link will also get $5 billion from the State Government, which is being matched by the Federal Government.
The State Government will also match the Federal Government's $2 billion commitment to the Geelong Fast Rail project.
Other rail projects include:
- $899 million to upgrade the track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds stations
- $400 million for stage three of the Shepparton Line Upgrade
- $260 million for stage two of the Warrnambool Line Upgrade
- $276.5 million for the final stages of the Dandenong corridor
Winner: Mental health
The Victorian Government will spend $868.6 million to overhaul the mental health system, and act on several recommendations from the Royal Commission's interim report.
The funding includes $492 million for 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne.
There's also $152 million to provide mental health services in direct response to the pandemic and $47.8 million for early intervention support for young people.
Loser: Future taxpayers
The purpose of the Budget was to counteract the hit from COVID-19, by stimulating the economy and creating new jobs.
But it comes at a cost, with the Government borrowing big to pay for it all.
Net debt will reach $86.7 billion this year and grow to $154.8 billion by 2023-24.
The Government says historically low interest rates mean "now is the time to borrow in order to rebuild".
But it remains to be seen how the Budget will be clawed back from the red down the track.
There's billions in the budget for schools, with measures ranging from infrastructure projects to support for students with disability.
All up there's more than $3 billion allocated for school infrastructure upgrades, including more than 4,830 jobs related to projects in metropolitan Melbourne and more than 1,570 jobs related to projects in regional Victoria.
More than $147 million has been allocated to buy land for 11 new schools, and $122.4 million will be spent on a new vertical primary school in North Melbourne.
There's also $1.6 billion for a Disability Inclusion package, which will expand the support available to students with disability.
Families who were loaned laptops and iPads to help them access online learning during the lockdown will be allowed to keep them under a $24.5 million fund included in the budget.
The funds will be made available to schools to replace devices loaned out.
The Budget also includes $250 million to hire 4,100 tutors across government schools next year, to help students catch up after a school year disrupted by COVID-19.
Winner: Property buyers
People who buy residential properties for under $1 million before June 30, 2021, will get some relief on stamp duty.
A waiver of 50 per cent will apply for new residential properties, and 25 per cent will apply for existing properties.
A 50 per cent stamp duty concession will also apply to the purchase of commercial and industrial properties in regional Victoria.
It was a measure included in last year's budget and was meant to come in from July 2023, but has been brought forward to next January.
Winner: Power users
Victorians will get access to a number of measures to make their homes more energy efficient, as part of a $797 million household energy efficiency package.
The package includes $191 million to expand the state's solar power rebate scheme and $335 million to help low-income earners replace old heating appliances.
It also includes $112 million to upgrade energy systems for 35,000 social housing homes.
Eligible concession card holders will get a one-off $250 payment to help cover electricity bills. The Government estimates this will help 950,000 Victorian households.
Winner: Regional tourism
Premier Daniel Andrews has encouraged Victorians to travel in their own state this summer — and the Budget includes a few measures to sweeten the deal.
A $465 million tourism recovery package will see tourist hotspots around the state get funding for upgrades and projects.
From December, 120,000 vouchers of $200 value will be available for Victorians who spend at least $400 on accommodation, attractions or tours in the regions.
The package also includes $47.5 million for the Great Ocean Road region, $18.5 million for Gippsland, $15 million for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing hiking trial, $13 million for the Grampians and $4.3 for the Prosecco Road winery district.
Agriculture received just $115 million in the state budget.
There's $65 million for a new strategy to help modernise Victorian agriculture, and a $50 million package to fund upgrades at agricultural colleges and training providers.
Aside from this, there's little direct support for farmers on offer.
However, farmers are likely to benefit from the $300 million to tackle mobile phone black spots, and $250 million to improve broadband access in regional areas.
Winner: Job Seekers
Hundreds of millions will be spent on programs to support jobseekers and encourage businesses to hire.
$250 million will be spent on subsidising the wages of up to 10,000 new workers. $150 million of that will go towards employing women specifically, and $50 million of that will go to women over the age of 45.
Under a New Jobs Tax Credit plan, businesses will get 10 cents for every dollar they increase taxable Victorian wages.
The Budget contains further funding of $266.5 million for intensive individual support for jobseekers, such as career counselling and help to update resumes, as well as an extra 80,000 free TAFE and training places in courses linked to in-demand jobs.
There's also a $64 million Digital Skills and Jobs program to help retrain Victorians who lost their jobs, which will fund short courses and up to 5,000 industry internships.
Loser: Electric car owners
A 2.5 cent/km charge would apply to electric and other zero-emission vehicles, including hydrogen vehicles, and a 2.0 cent/km charge would apply to plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles.
The State Government estimates the charge would raise about $30 million per year.
But the Treasurer said it would be offset by $45 million for measures to encourage electric car use, such as creating more charging stations.
Winner: Aboriginal Victorians
The budget includes $357 million for Aboriginal communities in Victoria.
It includes $40 million to expand the Aboriginal community, health and family violence workforce, and $74.l million for reforming out-of-home care services.
The First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria will be able continue their work towards treaty negotiations, with $20.2 million support in the budget.
There's also $7.3 million for training and leadership courses in Aboriginal organisations and groups, and $1 million to establish the Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Council.
The Government will also allocate $26.7 million to repair buildings owned by Aboriginal organisations.
There's a bunch of measures in the budget targeted at getting women back into the workplace.
As part of a $250 million package subsidising the wages of 10,000 new workers, there's $150 million for women specifically — and $50 million of that for women over 45.
The Victorian Government will also offer free kinder in 2021 — a $169.6 million scheme aimed largely at helping women return to work.
A few measures are also targeted at getting women into male-dominated industries.
The Government will spend $2.4 million to encourage women to join the transport sector workforce through scholarships and career development initiatives.
The social housing package will use social procurement targets to hire women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, and Victorians from diverse backgrounds.
Winner: Regional communications
The budget includes $250 million to help fund business-grade broadband for Victorian suburbs and regional towns.
Upgrades will take place in regional towns with satellite and fixed wireless services to give them access to broadband.
There's also $300 million to fix mobile black spots in populated parts of regional Victoria.
More than $2 billion will be spent building new hospitals and upgrading existing ones, including:
- $562 million to expand the Frankston Hospital in Melbourne's south-east
- $384.2 millon the first stage of the Warrnambool Base Hospital redevelopment
- $217 million for the Latrobe Regional Hospital redevelopment
- $75 million to buy land and start planning a new hospital in Melton, a fast-growing region in Melbourne's west
The budget also includes $200 million to set up a new Metro Health Infrastructure Fund, and the existing Regional Health Infrastructure Fund will get an extra $120 million.
There's also $30 million to update clinical technology like pathology and diagnostic tools, and $85 million for engineering and medical equipment upgrades.
Just over $66 million will be spent planning and buying land for new community hospitals across Cranbourne, Pakenham, Torquay, City of Whittlesea, Eltham, Fishermans Bend and Point Cook.
Loser: Unsafe drivers
Motorists who break the rules are set to pump millions more into state coffers.
The budget papers project revenue from road safety camera fines will rise from $330 million in 2019-20 to $475 million this financial year.
Revenue from such fines is expected to rise further to $524 million in 2021-22, $545 million in 2022-23 and $553 million in 2023-24.