Your job, housing, health and commute: What the budget means for you

A new normal: Crowds are slowly returning to the CBD.Credit:Joe Armao

Your job

For those without a job, this year’s state budget provides $266 million to create a new ‘‘jobs mentor’’ scheme, designed to give more face-to-face support to those seeking employment.

There is a new $250 million fund to subsidise wages in 10,000 newly created roles; of this money, $150 million will go towards getting women back into work.

Of 180,000 people in Victoria who have lost a job since March, women have been the most affected – exacerbated by home schooling and the closure of childcare affecting their employment more than that of men.

Stamp duty is being cut for some.Credit:Paul Rovere

Your housing

For home buyers in the market for a house worth up to $1 million, stamp duty will be cut in half for new homes and by a quarter for existing buildings.

For the 100,000-plus people on Victoria’s public housing waiting lists, the budget provides some hope, with $5.3 billion for 12,000 new social housing units.

The budget also reveals 57,000 tenants and landlords have registered a reduced rent agreement since March, and gives $6 million in new money for Consumer Affairs Victoria to continue running its Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme.

Medical staff in the COVID-19 ward at the Austin Hospital in April.Credit:Justin McManus

Your health

There’s billions of dollars to address the coronavirus pandemic, with the state and federal governments splashing $2.9 billion for the public health team to respond to the health crisis.

It is joint funding, and the Commonwealth will provide roughly half. There’s $152 million set aside for the coronavirus mental health response (about half is Commonwealth funding), as well as millions more on various mental health initiatives.

However, Melton and Warrnambool hospitals promised millions of dollars will only see a small share of their funding pie in this year’s budget.

Premier Daniel Andrews underground at the State Library station.Credit:Jason South

Your commute

This budget is splashing cash on public transport upgrades, but especially rail. The pre-announced $2.2 billion for the Suburban Rail Loop and $2 billion on the Geelong line adds to $1.48 billion for 100 new accessible trams to retire the ageing A and Z Class trams. South-eastern rail commuters will benefit from $276.5 million on the Dandenong corridor.

Motorists will benefit from more than $1.6 billion in road network and infrastructure initiatives, including a "Summer Streets" program to provide traffic management during COVID-safe outdoor events.

More than $60 million was set aside for pedestrian and cycling upgrades, but this will probably fall short of the growth in demand, while just $4.2 million for improvements to bus services pales in comparison with the spending on tram and train services

Masked-up students at Glen Eira Secondary College in SeptemberCredit:Justin McManus

Your school

The government’s sizeable debt has been scattered across kinder, schools and TAFEs, with a massive $1.2 billion invested this year into education initiatives and a further $3.8 billion in the next three years.

The Andrews government has touted TAFE as crucial to retraining workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic and $631 million has been committed to 80,000 new student spots over four years.

The government’s budget-day announcement included a further $3 billion in school upgrades, but more than $1 billion will come in the second half of 2022 – around the time of the next state election or beyond. In this pandemic year, there’s a big spend on enhanced school cleaning – $60 million.

There’s lots of money for renewables.Credit:Glenn Hunt

Your environment

Victoria has heeded experts’ advice to place renewable energy and environmental initiatives at the centre of its rebuild. A total of $1.6 billion has been committed to clean energy, which will in turn create new, sustainable job opportunities.

About $562 million will help protect our waterways, including $65 million for improving the access to and health of rivers such as the Yarra.

However, there is a meagre $25.2 million for accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. An electric vehicle tax has been introduced for the first time and will bring in $30 million over four years, potentially turning prospective consumers away.

Businesses will get broadband.Credit:James Alcock

Your business

About 7000 will benefit from an increased payroll tax threshold, a measure the government hopes will ease the burden of taking on new staff.

More than $500 million will be spent on broadband for businesses in areas with poor internet access, including regional areas. Remaining mobile blackspots will be addressed, the government says.

About $4 million will be spent to help small and medium-sized businesses to digitise their operations. Toolkits and masterclasses will be developed for business owners.

The NGV is open again.Credit:Jason South

Your arts and culture

Arts lovers will be able to enjoy a brand new art gallery in the heart of Melbourne. The National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary will be built at 77 Southbank Boulevard and will feature local and international contemporary art, design and fashion.

Creative art precincts that need to transition to COVID-safe practices over summer will be able to tap the government for support.

A host of experience economy organisations, including arts, culture and sporting groups, will share in a $141.9 million fund. More broadly the creative industries may fall short of what they need to get the pandemic-ravaged sector back on track.

CFA members in action during last summer’s bushfires Credit:Joe Armao

Your safety

Volunteer firefighters will receive new equipment and training as part of a $175 million boost to the state’s fire services as it transitions into separate volunteer and professional firefighting organisations.

Station replacements will occur at 15 stations and a new fire station will be built at Clyde.
New mobile speed cameras that were going to be in use by May 2023 will be rolled out by April 2021.

About $4 million will be spent to upgrade the VicEmergency app that is used by Victorians to receive information about emergency events like bushfires. The app’s functionality was criticised by some residents in bushfire-affected areas during last summer’s fire season.

Public drunkenness will be decriminalised, doing away with a controversial law that the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended axing in 1991.

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