Vic to spend $12b on health post-COVID

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Victoria will inject an extra $12 billion into its ailing health system as it seeks to undo damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas on Tuesday handed down his eighth budget, titled Putting Patients First.

He said the budget would give healthcare workers an extra pair of helping hands.

"This pandemic repair plan means more staff, better hospitals and first-class care," he told parliament.

The budget includes a commitment to train and hire 7000 healthcare workers, 5000 of whom will be nurses.

More than $80 million will be spent on hiring an extra 400 perioperative nurses, upskilling 1000 nurses and theatre technicians, and recruiting up to 2000 expat and international health workers through a global recruitment drive.

A further $2.3 billion will be set aside on upgrading and building new hospitals, including $900 million for the previously announced Melton Hospital in the city's west.

To allow more patients to be treated at home, opening up extra space in public hospitals, Victoria's Better at Home nursing program will be expanded with a $698 million investment.

Ninety more paramedics will be recruited with $124 million in extra cash, and a further $218 million has been allocated to ease pressure on the state's embattled triple zero call service following multiple deaths of people while waiting for an ambulance.

That funding will allow the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority to put on an extra 280-odd call-takers, on top of the 120 announced in March as part of a $115 million pledge.

The budget formally sets a target to carry out 240,000 surgeries a year by 2024, as part of its previously announced $1.5 billion COVID catch-up plan.

Mr Pallas said the Victorian government had spent $44 billion dollars to respond to the pandemic and wouldn't turn the tap off just yet.

A further $521.7 million will be spent during the next two years to aid hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, along with another $110 million to continue the COVID pathways program.

"We'll keep fighting the fight against COVID-19," the treasurer said.

But the Victorian government expects expenditure to fall by 9.7 per cent in 2022/23, as short-term pandemic support initiatives taper off.

Mr Pallas has outlined a path back to surplus by 2025/26, with the government establishing a future fund, with cash from the commercialisation of Vic Roads, to ease the state's net debt burden as it soars to a projected $167.5 billion.


Deficit: $7.9 billion

Revenue: $82 billion

Net debt: $118.5 billion

GST Revenue: $18.7 billion

Total tax revenue: $30.5 billion

Unemployment: Four per cent

Total expenditure: $89.8 billion

Employee expenses: $33.1 billion

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