Settle speaks on state budget

THE State Government’s 2024/25 budget was released earlier this month with funding announced for new and ongoing initiatives across Victoria.

Member for Eureka, Michaela Settle weighed in on the announcements made, and said a highlight for her is in how it caters for families and students.

“What this budget is about is supporting families,” she said. “Across the world, people are facing cost of living pressures.

“I’m pleased this budget is sensible and measured but also supports families.

“The $400 (School Saving Bonus) is an incredibly important piece for families. I’m the mother of two boys and remember what it’s like trying to get yourself sorted with the beginning of the year and this will give relief.

“Along with that, we’re extending breakfast club to every state school in Victoria and that’s a cost-of-living saving.

“We’re tripling the Glasses in Schools program. It’s that real focus on families and supporting people in the community.”

The budget also includes $13 billion in healthcare funding and COVID recovery, and $1.8 billion for Victorian schools, adding to an overall goal of establishing 100 new sites by 2026.

The Victorian Homebuyer Fund will be extended with $700 million while $555 million is being allocated to help with workforce infrastructure and TAFE support.

The Ballarat Sports Package, featuring projects at Eureka Stadium and the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, are set to be supported as part of an $18 million initiative towards community sport infrastructure and programs.

On the region’s health service front, $5.4 million will go to Ballarat Base Hospital for a new mental health, alcohol, and other drugs emergency department hub.

“That’s incredibly important that people presenting with those issues have specialised care,” she said.

“It also means people presenting with their kids with a broken arm in the normal ED will have an environment they’re comfortable and safe in. Ballarat Base and Grampians Health is fundamental to our whole area.

“It’s not just families. I was delighted that McAuley House in Ballarat has been funded to continue its operation which is an amazing outfit that looks after homeless women and is for everybody in the region.”

Ms Settle also said it’s great to see regional roads recognised in the budget.

“Anyone who drives on the Western Freeway from Ballarat to Bacchus Marsh can see all the work that’s happening,” she said.

“I was really excited to see work on the Midland Highway down that Meredith stretch which has been an issue for a while.”

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