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A road and rail maintenance blitz will headline a $2.7 billion building boom designed to kickstart Victoria’s stuttering economy and create thousands of jobs.
The Herald Sun can reveal the Andrews Government will today unveil a sweeping stimulus package with shovel-ready projects including resurfacing roads, fixing train tracks, sprucing up railway stations and upgrading piers and jetties.
Half of the $328.4 million transport infrastructure program will be spent in regional Victoria — hit hard by bushfires and travel restrictions — and another 41 per cent of projects will benefit both regional and metropolitan areas.
“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,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan. Picture: Joe Castro (AAP)
Ten new schools will be built and old classrooms revamped in $1.18 billion in education works. Education Minister James Merlino said the new schools and extra classrooms would deliver space for 21,000 more students and create 1600 construction jobs. The package includes $438m to build the 10 new schools and $388m for upgrade and modernisation works at 57 sites.
Last week, the State Government revealed the Budget was $773 million in the red with three months left in the financial year, and Treasurer Tim Pallas said the worst was yet to come during the coronavirus crisis.
The government expects the new road and rail projects to create or support about 650 jobs, with further stimulus spending to be announced today.
Those who have lost jobs during the pandemic will be prioritised for employment on the new projects through the government’s $500 million Working for Victoria initiative.
Extra work will also be guaranteed for small and local employers.
Public transport infrastructure will get a $192 million boost, including $90.5 million to upgrade and replace signalling, sleepers and ballast on regional tracks to ensure smoother commuter trips and quicker freight movement.
Another $62.6 million will be spent improving the maintenance of tram and V/line rolling stock, and $23.3 million will be used to upgrade 15 railway stations and stops with new toilets, better seats and improved disability access.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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