07 May 2024

The Allan Labor Government’s first Budget is dedicated to helping families across the Ripon electorate.

Whether it’s helping with the cost of living, making sure our kids can be their best, record funding for our healthcare system, or continuing to invest in more of the services families rely on – the Victorian Budget 2024/25 invests in our community.

With the current cost of living, covering supplies and extracurricular activities can be hard on families doing it tough. Uniforms, camps, excursions – it all adds up.

That’s why we are providing a one-off School Saving Bonus to help cover the costs. This $400 bonus will help make sure our kids have everything they need for the school day, supporting families with children at government schools and families at our non-government schools who need it most.

Dedicated to helping cover the cost of learning essentials and the extracurriculars that make school fun – we’ll work with schools to make it available for the start of the 2025 school year.

We’re also tripling our free Glasses for Kids program – making sure even more young Victorians can be their best in the classroom, and beyond. Having already helped 34,000 kids across our state – this investment will help 74,000 more, providing free vision screening and prescription glasses for students who need it.

And because we know that learning isn’t limited to the classroom, we’re investing $6 million to extend our Get Active Kids vouchers – providing up to $200 to help eligible families with the cost of sporting club registration, uniforms, and equipment.

Last year, our Free Kinder program saved around 140,000 families up to $2500 in fees, helping with the cost of living and ensuring cost was not a barrier to participation. This year’s Budget continues this investment with an additional $129 million to continue delivering Free Kinder and the statewide rollout of Three-Year-Old Kinder.

An extra $19 million will deliver new Building Blocks grants – enabling kinders to renovate and upgrade early learning facilities. From expanding classrooms to funding native gardens, upgrading technology, or transforming outdoor play spaces, these projects are an investment in our youngest learners.

In recent months, Victorians have already experienced the cruel impacts of fires, floods, and storms. In this Budget we are continuing our support for those Victorians that have been affected by these catastrophic weather events, including across the Pyrenees Shire and Grampians region, with $301.5 million to help them rebuild and recover.

This includes repairs to schools, roads, and other infrastructure, as well as temporary accommodation, relief payments and mental health support for residents who need help recovering.

We’re also supporting the clean-up, repair and rebuild of communities like Pomonal and Raglan with $302 million to help recover from the bushfires and storms.

This includes repairs to schools, roads, and other infrastructure, as well as temporary accommodation, relief payments and mental health support for residents.

This budget also includes $62 million for upgrades to make rural and regional roads safer for drivers and pedestrians. This includes creating a pedestrian crossing on the Calder Highway at Wedderburn, safety improvements to London Bridge at Talbot and a safer crossing for families at Miners Rest.

We’re investing in young people’s mental health, with $1.47 million for One Red Tree Resource Centre which will support the wellbeing of students at schools in Ararat, Stawell, and the Grampians region. This program provides 160 scholarships for school placements to provisional psychologists across the western region.

This Government is also helping more kids to find their passions, with a $6 million investment in Tech Schools. This includes reaching more country students with immersive STEM camps and remote and flexible delivery of Tech School programs.

Community legal services do an incredible job, making sure Victorians can access the legal support they need. This budget delivers $28.8 million to continue the work of our community legal centres and specialist legal services – including the Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Centre and ARC Justice at the Loddon Campaspe Legal Centre. Through ARC Justice, funding will support the Maryborough Therapeutic Justice Project to embed a lawyer within the Maryborough District Health Service, while also supporting an allied health worker at Maryborough Magistrates Court to provide a wrap-around service for victim survivors of family violence.

We’re also supporting our rural farmers and small businesses experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship with $4.1 million to continue the Rural Financial Counselling service. This free and independent service provides advice and support at a time it’s needed most.

Helping to make sure more locals can get the help they need, this Budget also delivers $5.4 million for a new mental health, alcohol, and other drugs emergency department hub at the Ballarat Base Hospital. This will be integrated with the new emergency department being established as part of the existing hospital redevelopment.

We know how important our frontline healthcare services are for patients and their families. Since we came to government, Victoria’s public hospitals now employ over 5,000 more doctors, and over 13,000 more nurses. During the pandemic, when our health system was stretched like never before, we acted decisively – providing record funding to bolster our health system.

Since the pandemic, the cost of running our health system has continued to increase – but every cent is worth it to keep Victorians healthy. That’s why we’re making the biggest multi-year investment in our health systems in Victoria’s history. It’ll mean our hospitals have the long-term certainty they need over the coming years.

Each investment is an investment in the people of Ripon.

Because this is a Budget – and a Government – dedicated to helping families.

Quotes attributable to Member for Ripon Martha Haylett

“This Budget will make a real difference to local families. Our $400 School Saving Bonus will help cover the costs of kids’ uniforms and activities – giving families one less thing to worry about.”

“It’s all about helping families across our region – from support with the cost of living through to making sure local kids can access mental health support in our rural and regional schools.”

“Our communities were hit hard by bushfires and floods over summer. With this Budget, the Allan Labor Government is investing in the support locals need as they continue to recover."