Hospital budget boost

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A new adult emergency department and pediatric zone at Maroondah Hospital has been promised by the state government in its 2021/22 budget.

The $100 million investment will be shared by five hospitals across metropolitan Melbourne and create 300 jobs.

The budget also included $99 million to expand the Angliss Hospital with a new in-patient unit. The project will support around 220 jobs at the peak of construction.

A futher $5.7 million was allocated for the business case and initial planning for a new adult emergency department at the Ringwood East hospital.

Another area of focus was strengthening the justice system, providing more support for victims, especially family violence victims and preventing Aboriginal deaths in custody. To help achieve these aims, a new family violence centre will be established in Ringwood to service the Outer East as part of the $78 million package for specialist family violence courts.

The local government area of Maroondah will also share in $47 million aimed at helping those sleeping rough get into secure housing, which may help ease increasing homelessness in the Lilydale area.

Health

Mental health received a lot of budget attention as funding will continue for the Live 4 Life and Be Well in the Ranges programs. These are bespoke regional mental health programs that work closely with young people and those affected by bushfires.

Ambulance Victoria and paramedics were also high on the priority list to provide better support to patients. The budged included $759 million to employ more paramedics, as well as more triage care and support staff for Ambulance Victoria to reduce the pressure in emergency departments.

$842 million in funding will deliver 3000 jobs, training and placements in the mental health sector.

Infrastructure

Gembrook will soon be home to an all-new school after $491.57 million was announced towards construction. The school, temporarily known as Officer Rix Road Primary School, is expected to open in 2023.

In Mount Evelyn, upgrades to road safety along York Road between Swansea and Monbulk Roads will also take place in an attempt to ensure roads meet ongoing traffic needs as the electorate of Evelyn continues to grow.

The budget also allocates $74.3 million towards improving bus services across the state, including Lilydale, Yarra Glen and Healesville to increase services on routes.

Mooroolbark’s Manchester Primary School will also receive upgrades to classrooms and school buildings.

The Big Build project has received more funding to improve Victorian roads and railway lines, helping ease congestion across the state.

Unfortunately, the much needed duplication of the Lilydale line was overlooked for funding.

Environment

$44 million has been allocated towards protecting Victorian waterways and ensuring they are both preserved and enjoyed by communities. However, no mention was made of the Yarra River.

The budget announcement also revealed the largest funding package to date for Forest, Fire and Regions, with over $517 million going towards reducing bushfire risk. $15.6 million was also allocated towards removing long grass and flammable undergrowth.

The state has also placed a focus on indigenous cultural burning as a means of bushfire prevention, putting $22.5 million towards the initiative.

Producers of the Yarra Valley will benefit from $6.4 million invested in a Victorian Fruit Fly Strategy set to be released next month in a bid to combat Queensland Fruit Fly outbreaks.