Rural, regional Vic reflect broader plan

·2-min read

When it comes to regional and rural Victoria, the 2021/22 state budget is banking on a broader plan.

In spruiking the spending for those not living in the Melbourne metropolitan area, the Victorian government points to the statewide plan for the mental health reforms and coronavirus recovery.

Of the $3.8 billion over four years being poured into mental health, about $700 million is going towards new and expanded regional mental health support services.

Included in those reforms are crisis outreach teams, continued running of hospital outreach post-suicidal engagement programs at South West Healthcare in Warrnambool, Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton and Mildura Base Hospital, and sub-regional follow-up care in regions across the state.

To encourage job growth, about $129 million is being spent on regional development and agriculture investment.

There's $10 million for the Morwell Food Manufacturing Precinct in the Latrobe Valley, which is forecast to support about 1700 jobs, $17.4 million is being spent on employment diversification in Portland and across the Glenelg Shire and in Northern Victoria $1.6 million will go to the Hilldene Employment Precinct in Seymour.

For agriculture, there's $11.7 million for traceability systems to prove the origin and quality, and promotion, of Victorian produce.

The government is also bringing forward by a year the full reduction to the regional employer payroll tax rate to 1.2125 per cent - down to a quarter of the metropolitan rate - kicking in from July 1 this year instead of next.

It's touted to save money for about 4000 regional businesses.

The government had already announced $6.4 million for the state's fruit fly control strategy.

There's 17 schools slated for upgrades in regional Victoria and land to be acquired in the Mitchell Shire for a new one.

One of the biggest items of regional Victoria in the budget is $986 million to build 25 new trains, with most of the work to be done in Ballarat.