The pandemic has been the main driver of new funding in the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget. Victoria has invested $13 billion to support families, workers, and businesses deal with the crisis and avoid the worst impact of the pandemic-induced economic downturn. Professional workers will play a critical role in this recovery.
With significant pre-budget job and infrastructure announcements, the Government’s infrastructure investment over the next four years is set to average $19.6 billion per year, the largest capital investment in the state’s history, and compares strongly against the $4.9 billion average per year between 2005-06 to 2014-15.
Complex long-term infrastructure projects have received planning, design, and business case support, in addition to significant ongoing projects such as Airport Rail and the Level Crossing Removal Program. The Government also outlined the largest investment in social and affordable housing in the state’s history.
The $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund (over 10 years) with a focus on medical research, health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing and digital technologies and support for 15,700 jobs over the next ten years, is welcome news for our members.
The significant IT and digital upgrades being pursued in this budget reflect the changed working environment for many people, but also the opportunities to be gained through IT and digital infrastructure and transformation.
Importantly for our engineer members, the Budget allocated $4.9 million to support the rollout of the Victorian Engineer Registration scheme, a scheme that PA members have been advocating for many years. With the Victorian registration scheme starting in just over 6 months, engineers are encouraged to start preparing for the scheme and contact us about our RPEng program.
An investment of $5 million over two years for the Victorian Government’s Secure Work Pilot Scheme will be an important first step to tackle insecure employment. The pilot will provide 5 days sick and carers’ pay for eligible workers in priority industries. This pilot scheme has the potential to make a huge difference for casual employees, including our interpreter and pharmacy members.