Victoria Government launches $2.7b construction blitz to stimulate state's economic recovery

Posted: 20th May

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a $2.7 billion construction blitz, including more than $1 billion to upgrade schools, to stimulate the Victorian economy and create thousands of jobs.

"The Government will invest that money to deliver hundreds of projects to secure thousands of jobs in maintenance, upgrades to public housing, through to road maintenance, upgrading train stations and a very significant boost, more than $1 billion to schools," Mr Andrews said.

He said many of the projects in the Building Works package were new while others had already been planned but were being brought forward.

The projects were specifically chosen because they could begin quickly and stimulate the economy.

Work to refurbish 23,000 public housing units would begin immediately with the rest of the projects to get underway within three to six months, he said.

The package is expected to create 3,700 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs.

"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," Mr Andrews said

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

The money is in addition to the State Government's $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package announced last month.

Spending and projects in the package announced today include:

  • $500 million to upgrade 23,000 public and community housing dwellings and build 168 new homes
  • $382 million for upgrades, maintenance and new experiences at tourism destinations including 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills and upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes
  • Other small projects such as local sports facility upgrades, work to improve waterways and coastal areas, tree planting and graffiti removal
  • Transport spending including 300km of regional track improvements, repairs at more than 15 train stations, more maintenance on trains and trams, local pier upgrades along the coast and $328 million for resurfacing and patching roads
  • More than $100 million for CFA and SES station upgrades, disability accommodation and mental health and aged care facilities across Victoria

 

State to get new schools, upgrades and relocatable buildings

Education Minister James Merlino said almost $1.2 billion of the funding would be spent building 10 new schools and 250 relocatable buildings and completing 57 upgrades.

Mr Merlino said the works would create capacity for 21,000 additional student places around the state and more than 1,600 local construction jobs.

He said the Greater Shepparton Secondary College project alone would deliver almost 300 local jobs for the community.

"I'm really pleased that Clifton Creek Primary school, the school that was burnt down in the summer bushfires, [will be rebuilt]," he said.

"This is the biggest school building program our state has ever seen," he added.

"It will also deliver on all our remaining election commitments."


Builders welcome construction funding

Michelle Brooker is the general manager of her family's construction businesses, Brooker Builders, that is based in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.

She said the construction industry in East Gippsland had slowed down.

"In East Gippsland we have had three years of drought, then the bushfires and now COVID-19," she said.

"Now that has never happened before."

She said the State Government funding was a "welcome opportunity" for the building sector right across the state.

But Ms Brooker wants to see the State Government consider local businesses when it awards building contracts.

" We know that we still need to prove value for money and to be competitive but we believe this is an opportunity and it would be fantastic to turn that opportunity into reality."

 

Successful tenderers to source additional labour through government scheme

Mr Andrews said the Working for Victoria scheme, in which people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are placed into industries and sectors that need more staff, would be a core component of the building tenders.

"If a business wins a tender and needs to employ additional staff over and above what they have now, they will have to come to Working for Victoria first and if we can match up people who have lost their jobs with these small and medium firms then that's a fantastic outcome," he said.

Source: ABC News - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-18/daniel-andrews-premier-victoria-coronavirus-construction-blitz/12258066