Victorian Treasurer Announces Health-Focused Cash Splash
Covid Catch-Up Plan
The centrepiece of Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas's cash splash is a pandemic repair plan estimated to cost $12 billion over the next four years.
Handing down his eighth budget on Tuesday, Mr Pallas highlighted the multi-billion-dollar investment in health services as a Covid Catch-Up Plan.
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“At its heart this is a budget that looks after the health and wellbeing of every single Victorian,” Mr Pallas said.
Victoria’s spending boost will see money thrown at elective surgery, nurses, paramedics, and emergency call takers, as well as the mental health sector.
Pledged in Pallas' funding pitch is an extra 5000 trained nurses and paramedics, as well as a new hospital in Melton, in Melbourne’s outer west, along with $300m to fix the state's crisis-riddled triple-0 service.
While, $1.3bn is targeted toward mental health initiatives, along with an additional 1500 mental health workers and $490m for acute hospital care aim to reduce waiting times and deliver long-overdue improvements to Victoria’s mental health system.
“Building a new mental health system will require a significant workforce - so as we are delivering the mental health system Victoria needs, we’re also creating thousands of jobs,” Mental Health Minister James Merlino said.
Furthermore, an extra 82 mental health beds will be added at the Northern Hospital and Sunshine Hospital, with 15 acute beds added in Shepparton and land for a further 49 beds in Ballarat and Wangaratta.
The government will also spend $2m on support for people with eating disorders, following a spike in cases during the pandemic.
Money will also be dished out on 502 new police officers and 50 PSOs over the next two years, with $214m to rollout tasers to all frontline police.
The education state is also sticking true to its name, with $581.5m directed at building 13 new schools in outer Melbourne.
Sports also got a mention with $2.6bn to be set aside to fund the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with four athlete’s hubs in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, and Gippsland to ready the regions in hosting the Games.
According to the Treasurer strong jobs and wages growth is behind the state's economic recovery, with forecasts of a return to surplus by 2025-26.
Victoria's total budget spend of $22.2bn in new initiatives, is ultimately promising a roadmap out of the pandemic.
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