Victoria Eyes Quick Builds to Boost Economy

By AAP
May 17, 2020 Updated: May 17, 2020

Hundreds of construction projects will be kicked off in Victoria over the coming six months, as the state government coughs up $2.7 billion to rev up the economy.

In an effort to create jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll, Victorians will get $1.18 billion worth of new school infrastructure.

Train station upgrades, road maintenance and refurbishments to public housing will be funded, along with creating and maintaining tourism experiences.

Improvements will also be made at Country Fire Association and State Emergency Service stations, disability accommodation, and mental health and aged care facilities.

The blitz is forecast to create 3700 direct jobs for people in the construction sector and thousands more roles for people throughout supply chains.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the projects will be underway within three to six months.

“We already invest very heavily in each of these areas. This is just about taking a next step and instead of perhaps doing something in two and a half, three years time, it’s planned, it’s ready,” he told reporters on May 18.

Most of the projects are new, but a small number would have occurred anyway more slowly, he noted.

The new schools infrastructure will include 10 new schools, 57 school upgrades, new movable buildings and modifications for students with a disability.

The state government got the green light to borrow up to $24.5 billion to fund its COVID-19 response.

Education Minister James Merlino said a “significant element” of the building cash will be drawn from that pool.

“This is precisely the type of investment that was envisaged through this additional funding,” he told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.

By Marnie Banger