News State Victoria News Victoria announces $2.7b building, construction blitz to kickstart economy after lockdown

Victoria announces $2.7b building, construction blitz to kickstart economy after lockdown

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The Victorian government hopes to create almost 4000 new jobs out of its latest funding package. Photo: AAP
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The Victorian government has announced its latest tranche of funding to get the economy back on track, announcing a $2.7 billion building and construction blitz to create thousands of “shovel-ready” building and construction jobs.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday morning a “Building Works” package will create 3700 direct jobs for construction workers, painters, plasterers, gardeners, engineers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, maintenance workers and administration staff.

Thousands more jobs will be created across supply chains, including manufacturing, logistics, transportation, warehousing and retail, while also pumping extra dollars back into the economy.

“We’re getting to work on hundreds of new projects across the state, meaning shovels in the ground – and boots in the mud – within a matter of weeks and months.”

Mr 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 Monday.

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 coronavirus 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.

The state government has also pledged $500 million to be directed towards the refurbishment of 23,000 public housing units and 200 homes for public and community housing.

“We’re ready to go with this and it will be a great boost to carpenters, to bricklayers, to concreters, to people who do carpet laying, to plumbers across the board,” he said.

“Small firms particularly will benefit. Hundreds and hundreds of projects supporting thousands of families.”

“From upgrading our roads and rail, to critical maintenance for social housing and new projects for our tourist destinations, this package will create jobs for our local tradies and so many others – and support local businesses all over Victoria.”

Last month, Victoria committed $1.7 billion to its “Economic Survival Package”, aimed at helping businesses through the worst of the coronavirus crisis – with tax refunds, grants for businesses and opportunities for workers to get back into jobs.

A further $382 million will be handed over to tourism, the sector hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown during the past two months, with 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills to upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes.

Transport gets a $328 million for resurfacing and patching roads, around 300 kilometres of regional track improvements, repairs and maintenance at train stations, trams and trains and local pier upgrades.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said: “We’ve always said Victoria is the engine room of the nation – with this package, we’re cranking the engine and kickstarting our economy.”