Hello, I’m Michael O’Brien, Treasurer of Victoria.
In the 2013-14 State Budget the Coalition Government is strengthening Victoria’s finances to invest in vital infrastructure and services for Victoria’s growing population.
In challenging economic times around the country and the globe, this Budget delivers a growing economy, growing employment, growing surpluses and major new infrastructure including hospitals, roads, schools and public transport.
For 2013-14 the Budget has an operating surplus of $225 million.
Victoria is one of only two states that are forecasting operating surpluses every year over the next four years with the economy forecast to grow by 2.25 per cent and unemployment set to fall to 5.5 per cent.
Building state-changing infrastructure totalling $6.1billion is central to this Budget which includes funding for stage one of the East West Link, a major project to improve connectivity and liveability in Melbourne.
Stage one of East West Link will join the Eastern Freeway at Hoddle Street with CityLink.
What CityLink did for Victoria in the 1990s, East West Link will do for Victoria today.
It will improve our productivity, protect our liveability and it will create around 3,200 jobs in the construction.
$110million committed to the development of the Port of Hastings, which is critical for the future of our growing freight trade.
We are investing $280 million to upgrade and maintain our road network, including $32 million for the West Gate bridge, and $170 million for road upgrades in metropolitan and regional Victoria.
$52 million is available to progress the removal of key railway level crossings including Main Road St Albans, North Road Ormond, and Blackburn Road, Blackburn.
All these are major job-creating projects. The Coalition Government is committed to growing employment and growing Victoria’s economy.
The Budget provides $179 million for eight new commuter trains, adding to the seven trains already funded.
We have committed $100 million to improve passenger services on the Frankston line and $78 million to build and maintain infrastructure to support Protective Services Officers at railway stations.
We are also investing in new train stations at Grovedale, Epsom and Southland shopping centre.
That is just the start of our transport infrastructure investment program.
Health demands are also growing and this Budget provides an extra $1.8 billion over the next four years to strengthen Victoria’s hospitals and health system.
This will bring health spending up to a record $11.2 billion.
We are also undertaking the largest hospital expansion in this State’s history – investments that will set Victoria up for generations to come.
Projects include the new Monash Children’s Hospital, the new Bendigo Hospital, the new Waurn Ponds Community Hospital, the redeveloped Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the redeveloped Box Hill Hospital.
We are also growing our education system to support a growing population, spending a total of $11.6 billion towards education from early childhood to adulthood.
There’s capital funding of more than $200 million including five new schools and land acquisitions in growth areas.
The Coalition Government is also boosting Victorian regions and building for growth for rural and regional communities.
The Budget commits $150 million towards regional transport infrastructure.
We are committing $61 million to upgrading CFA rural fire stations and $8 million is budgeted toward boosting tourism for regional Victoria.
Building for growth also requires measures to attract business and investment that leads to crucial employment growth.
We are investing over $19 million to encourage development of Victoria’s earth resources to secure and grow employment in regional Victoria.
And the new $10,000 grant for first home owners buying new homes, combined with the 40 per cent stamp duty concession, will encourage more jobs in the housing industry, increase housing supply and reduce housing affordability pressures.
As Treasurer I’m committed to growing our economy, growing employment, building new infrastructure and strengthening our State’s finances.
I’m committed to building for growth.