Read: Access full Victorian State Budget 2018/19 review here
The building and construction industry should benefit from a record $1.2 billion allocated to build new hospitals and expand existing hospitals across the state. Regional Victoria will continue to benefit from this investment with more than half of those funds to be invested in the regions. This includes $462 million to redevelop and expand Ballarat Base Hospital and $115 million to expand the Wonthaggi Hospital Emergency Department.
A further $2.1 billion will be diverted to supporting 1.96 million patients that will be admitted to hospitals. $218 million will be spent on cutting waiting times for elective surgeries. This is equivalent to 14,370 hip replacements or more than 76,000 eye surgeries.
There is continued focus in the 2018/19 Budget on mental health. $705 million has been pledged to assist Victorians facing mental illness and addiction, building on the significant investment for mental health in last year’s Budget. This amount will go a long way to supporting additional inpatient beds, establishing six new emergency crisis hubs and a new recovery care facility for at-risk youth. Regional Victoria will benefit from new residential drug rehabilitation treatment facilities in the Barwon, Gippsland and Hume regions.
In a move typical of both a Labor and an election Budget, there is also a continued focus on education. Since 2014 Labour has invested approximately $8.8 billion in education as part of its vision to make Victoria the Education State.
Spending on new and planned schools of $353 million, $272 million to purchase land for new school sites and $483 million on upgrades to existing schools is likely to favour the construction industry, with works planned across both metropolitan and regional Victoria.
In recognition of the skills shortage across Victoria (something that has been identified as a potential limiting factor on proposed infrastructure plans) the government has allocated $172 million to make training at TAFE free for 30 priority courses from 1 January 2019, and $304 million to create thousands of new TAFE training places.
Regional Victoria is also not forgotten with a dedicated focus and significant funds allocated for improving the state of education across regional areas.
What’s the impact for middle market businesses?
The clear winners out of such a strong investment are those directly impacted by the health and education sectors, however we consider there is also opportunity for those businesses in the building and construction industries who may seek to take advantage of the significant infrastructure program.
In terms of Melbourne’s growth areas, it is encouraging to see continued focus on delivering schools and health services. This should have a further positive impact on residential developers operating on the urban fringes of Melbourne.