Hundreds of Victorian construction projects will be kicked off over the coming six months, as the state government coughs up $2.7 billion to rev up the economy.
In an effort to create jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll, the state will have $1.18 billion worth of new school infrastructure.
Train station upgrades, road maintenance and refurbishments to public housing will be funded, along with tourism projects.
Improvements will also be made at Country Fire Association and State Emergency Service stations, disability accommodation, and mental health and aged care facilities.
The blitz is forecast to create 3700 direct jobs for people in the construction sector and thousands more roles for people throughout supply chains.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the projects will be underway within three to six months.
“We already invest very heavily in each of these areas. This is just about taking a next step and instead of perhaps doing something in two and a half, three years time, it’s planned, it’s ready,” he told reporters on Monday.
Most of the projects are new, but he added a small number would have occurred anyway.
The new schools infrastructure will include 10 new schools, 57 school upgrades, new movable buildings and modifications for students with a disability.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien welcomed the announcement as a start to put the state back to work, but accused the government of “using the COVID credit card to pay for old election promises.”
“It’s like Daniel Andrews giving you a Christmas present and then sending you the bill 12 months later on,” he said.
The state government has had the green light to borrow up to $24.5 billion to fund its coronavirus response.
Education Minister James Merlino said a “significant element” of the building cash will come from that pool.
“This is precisely the type of investment that was envisaged through this additional funding,” he told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.