It’s been a year of more enormous change, adjustment and reconnection – as we’ve returned to work and to school, and reconnected with the many activities, clubs, and groups that make our communities so inclusive and welcoming.
This year’s Victorian budget has been focused on investing in the services that have been so important to our collective response to the pandemic – in particular our hospitals and schools. Our health workers and teachers and staff have continued to go above and beyond in providing care and support to those who have needed it, and have worked tirelessly to keep others safe. They deserve our thanks and our support, and facilities that can keep pace with the needs of our growing community.
In responding to demand across the health and hospital system we’ve funded $12 billion to build new hospitals and purchase new specialist equipment, to recruit and train 7000 new healthcare workers including 5000 nurses, and to expand emergency departments across the state. We have also allocated $333 million for 400 new fully trained staff across Triple Zero dispatch services to ease the strain on our emergency call network.
Locally, this includes an expanded emergency department at Casey Hospital, as well as a new Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Crisis hub at the Monash Emergency Department – facilities that will deliver extra emergency beds and specialised emergency care for people struggling with addiction.
We’re also investing in new infrastructure including two brand-new primary schools in Pakenham and Officer, and a facilities upgrade with new classrooms for Officer Specialist School. This builds on the twelve level crossing removals along the Pakenham line that are now either completed or under construction, plus funding to make Beaconsfield train station more accessible for all public transport users.
As part of our commitment to renewable energy and tackling the cost of living we have introduced new rebates for solar PV, hot water, and battery storage installations, and the $250 Power Saving Bonus payment which will be available to all Victorians from 1 July through the Victorian Energy Compare website. This will be particularly important as temperatures plummet and changes to international markets keep energy prices high, so please get in touch if you would like help accessing these rebates or applying for the Bonus.
Building on the enormously popular Victorian Travel Voucher Scheme we’re also providing rebates to encourage people to get out and about to enjoy our fabulous music, art, museum, and live music scene, with rebates of 25 per cent available on the total cost of entertainment experiences over $40 anywhere in Victoria as part of our $200 million Business Support Package.
Finally, have you had your flu shot yet? It’s so important to help boost our influenza vaccination coverage and limit the spread of flu this Winter, particularly as Covid continues to move through the community. To make it easier, we are providing free flu vaccines through GPs and community pharmacies throughout the month of June, so please call to make your appointment, and don’t forget to mask up and test for Covid if you have any flu-like symptoms.
As always, my office is more than happy to assist with help and information, applications for funding or support, and the local issues that are important to you. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on 03 5134 8000.