Brimbank responds to Federal Budget
The 2019 Federal Budget responds to key asks in Brimbank Council’s advocacy campaign – but more is needed to ensure benefits flow to Melbourne’s West, Brimbank Mayor Cr Lucinda Congreve said.
“Brimbank Council has been campaigning to secure real jobs, transport, education and fairness outcomes for our community – this Federal Budget and Opposition Budget reply both respond to Council’s advocacy.
“The Federal Government’s $2 billion commitment to the new Geelong-Melbourne fast rail proposal, together with $5 billion for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, consolidates the Sunshine Super Hub’s position as the new transport hub for Victoria,” Cr Congreve said.
Cr Congreve said these projects would position Brimbank to become the jobs epi-centre for the west. “Sunshine is set to enjoy significant jobs growth and opportunities through these major rail projects and associated investments – with benefits that will flow across Brimbank and Melbourne’s West,” Cr Congreve said.
Council welcomed $50 million for each of the Calder and Hume freeways, but called on the Federal Government to ensure this money addressed key concerns – the need for a full diamond interchange at the intersection of the Calder Freeway and Calder Park Drive; and upgrading the Calder Freeway between the Western Ring Road and the Melton Highway.
Cr Congreve also highlighted much-needed investment in education – including funding to secure access to 15 hours of pre-school each week until 2020, and $525 million for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in the Federal Budget; and the ALP’s commitment to invest $1 billion in TAFE and apprenticeships.
“We know that education changes lives – and investing in our children and young people to support their learning through different life stages is crucial to our community.
“In particular, commitments from both sides of Federal politics to fund the VET sector, TAFE and apprenticeships could help to boost local skills and employment prospects.
“If targeted well, this funding will complement Council’s work to support for vulnerable youth in our community – which experiences pockets of high youth unemployment.
“There is enormous potential for this investment to give young Brimbank residents the best possible chance to benefit from the jobs boost that will come from the Sunshine Super Hub and associated investment, during and after construction, through partnerships with local VET providers such as Victoria University.
“With the Federal Government flagging $81 billion for the health sector, there is also potential for the Sunshine Health, Wellbeing, Employment and Innovation Precinct (SHWEP) to leverage health industry jobs growth, and improved health outcomes for our community.
Welcome's Royal Commission into Abuse of Disabled
“We also welcome the Federal Government’s announcement of $527 million for a Royal Commission into the abuse and neglect of Australians with disability.
“The ALP’s $2.3 billion Cancer Care Package will be welcome news for the many thousands of residents across Melbourne’s West whose lives have been touched by cancer,” Cr Congreve said.
Council also welcomed the ALP’s commitment to get the NDIS back on track and lift the cap on National Disability Insurance Agency staff numbers to fast-track the roll out of support – which commenced in Brimbank in October last year.
Support for Female-Friendly Facilities
Also of note for Brimbank – the Budget allocates $190 million for sport, to support female-friendly facilities. “Brimbank Council has been championing the need for more investment in female-friendly sports facilities for some time, so it’s pleasing to see the Federal Government invest in this area.
“Council will continue to lobby the Federal Government to direct some of this funding towards our planned state-of-the-art St Albans Health and Wellbeing Hub, which will replace the St Albans Leisure Centre,” Cr Congreve said.
Cr Congreve said Council welcomed both the Federal Government and Opposition’s commitments to tackling waste and looked forward to working with both parties to tackle waste and recycling challenges.
“We will continue to advocate for tighter regulation of the waste management industry, including increased penalties and clean up requirements for commercial dumping, along with the need to move away from landfill and invest in Advanced Waste and Resource Recovery Technologies,” Cr Congreve said.
Small Business Wins
Council also acknowledged commitments from both sides of Government to support small business, including increasing the instant asset write off threshold from $25,000 to $30,000. “This will assist up to 13,000 small to medium businesses across Brimbank,” Cr Congreve said.
Council notes the tax cuts in the Federal Budget, however more substantive policy is required to help grow wages and assist families struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.
“The one off power bill payments for eligible welfare recipients, whilst welcome, are not comprehensive solutions to address energy cost issues for our community. “Brimbank will continue to advocate for our local priorities in the lead up to the Federal election and calls on both parties to support our local jobs, transport, education, health and fairness agendas,” Cr Congreve said.