Victorian Budget – Industry Priorities and Workforce Opportunities

Victoria is to become the ‘education state’ with money into schools and skills – new schools, upgrades to existing schools and bringing back tech schools.

With significant TAFE funding, investment in hospitals and public transport, the Melbourne Metro Rail Project and road upgrades it’s clear that the focus is on infrastructure, jobs and regions.

This blog takes the highlights from the Victorian budget where there is a workforce implication or opportunity.

Jobs and Skills

With the Victorian VET reform initiative to report soon this budget positions TAFE with the following support,

$300 million to complete the $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund, helping campuses across the state reopen closed buildings, upgrade workshops and classrooms and get back in the black.

$50 million for the TAFE Back to Work fund, which will help campuses meet the needs of local employers, creating new, dedicated training courses.

All Victorian TAFEs are eligible for support under the TAFE Rescue Fund, including:

  • Bendigo Kangan Institute (in Bendigo and northern suburbs of Melbourne)
  • Federation Training
  • South West TAFE
  • SuniTAFE
  • The Gordon Institute
  • Wodonga TAFE

$32 million for Local Learning and Employment Networks, providing jobs and skills advice to people across Victoria to get them back on track.

$12 million will establish Tech Schools across the state, which will be open to students from Years 7 to 12 who will learn skills alongside a comprehensive secondary education.

The funding means planning can commence for Tech Schools in Gippsland, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Monash, Casey, Wyndham, Banyule, Yarra Ranges and Whittlesea.

$100 million to fund the Back to Work Scheme, offering relief to companies who hire unemployed young people, the long-term unemployed and retrenched workers to help create 100,000 jobs.

Two of the high-growth sectors – new energy technology and food and fibre processing – have a home in regional Victoria, and other sectors have room to grow in regional cities and communities.

A $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund will be used to back regional businesses and get on with the projects that local families and industries need.

This Fund includes $200 million to assist regional businesses to grow their workforce, expand markets and create jobs of the future and $250 million to invest in the projects that will help local industries grow.

Investment, industry and innovation

It is positive to see a balance between investing in existing businesses and encouraging start-ups to create new jobs,

$508 million for the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Fund (including the ‘start-up’ initiative), which will give our most senior economic and business leaders a real say at the heart of the Government, creating high-skill, high-wage jobs.

This Fund will be reserved for strategic, job-creating investments, and the Jobs and Investment Panel will provide direct advice to the Premier on its expenditure.

$60 million is included for a ‘start-up’ initiative that matches our brightest entrepreneurs with our best ideas to get them off the ground.

By developing business cases, dealing with governments, providing Intellectual Property and patent advice and helping manage finances, the new start-ups centre will power Victorian entrepreneurship.

There are specific industry priorities that build upon Victoria’s strengths and regional economic development,

$200 million to establish the Future Industries Fund, offering grants of up to

$1 million to companies working in the six industries poised for extraordinary growth and primed for Victorian expertise:

  • Medical technology and pharmaceuticals
  • New energy technology
  • Food and fibre processing
  • Transport, defence and construction technology
  • International education
  • Professional services

$10.5 million in additional funds for Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund to continue support for job-creating projects in an area recovering from automotive industry closure.

$7.5 million for the Geelong Regional Innovation and Investment Fund as part of the Regional Jobs Fund.


A recent experience hosting a delegation from Bhutan in Robinvale Victoria demonstrated the value of trade missions to learn about international best practice and build connections,

Trade missions aren’t just about transactions. They’re about building partnerships that link Victorian businesses with major economies and provide opportunities for our industries. The Budget provides:

$12 million for inbound trade mission programs, bringing investors from around the world to our doorstep to see what we do best and invest in our strengths.

$6 million to establish more Victorian Government Business Offices (VGBO) in key trading countries. Three VGBOs will be opened in South America, Singapore and Turkey.

Small business

In this budget there is a shift from a small business focus to job creation from start-ups,

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy, but they need confidence to grow and take risks and assistance to cut through red tape. The Budget provides:

$10.4 million to the Victorian Small Business Commission, helping it sustain a competitive and fair business environment, and provide vital information and assistance.

$11.4 million for stamp duty exemptions for small businesses purchasing mobile plant equipment such as tractors.

$2 million to Ethical Clothing Australia to help businesses in the textile and garment industries eliminate unfair exploitation among homeworkers and employees throughout their supply chain.

More major events

Workforce requirements of major events that can be hosted across the state will underpin sustainable growth and great experiences run by skilled people,

Major events create local jobs, grow our economy and give Victorian families something to do and something to see, together. The Andrews Labor Government will grow Victoria’s visitor economy and make sure we never lose our edge.

$80 million is provided to sponsor more major events across Victoria, attracting more visitors and growing our tourism industry.

In addition the Stage 2 development of the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre will establish Victoria as an international home for business and industry tourism.

The Creative Capital

A Greater Melbourne workforce plan would bring together all of these elements from the budget,

Victoria’s creative industries support thousands of jobs and inject hundreds of millions into our economy every year. The Budget provides more than $200 million to support Victorian arts, culture, film, television, music and design and give our creative industries a new life. This includes:

$55.4 million towards an $83.1 million redevelopment of the State Library of Victoria, increasing the library’s public spaces by 40 per cent and upgrading technology so lessons and workshops can be broadcast.

$30 million to redevelop the Geelong Performing Arts Centre, a much loved facility at the heart of the region which needs a new life to attract more events.

Rural and regional Victoria

Having seen the power of regional leadership and local collaboration, the Regional Jobs Fund will need to identify priority industry sectors, critical job roles and capabilities,

Businesses in regional Victoria need confidence and support to grow. Young people want skills and jobs to stay in their hometown. Families deserve the freedom of the country with access to the services they need.

Victoria’s rural communities and regional cities matter, and the Andrews Labor Government is investing in their future so families and businesses get the support they need to live and prosper.

A $200 million Regional Jobs Fund to help regional businesses grow their workforce, expand markets and create jobs of the future.

Initiatives to be funded include:

  • Food Source Victoria
  • Victorian Defence Procurement Office
  • Frewstal Lamb and Sheep Processing
  • Wine Victoria strategies
  • Latrobe Valley clinic
  • Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory
  • Geelong Regional Innovation and Investment Fund
  • Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce LPG industry study
  • Horticultural Research Foundation
  • A manufacturing hub in Geelong

Specifically for Agriculture,

The Labor Government is also investing in the skills and wellbeing of the people who work on the land. The Budget includes:

  • $0.8 million to provide scholarships for young farmers to improve their understanding of their vocation and enhance the productivity of their businesses.
  • Funding for a ministerial advisory council on young farmers.
  • $1.5 million for the Rural Financial Counselling Service, to support farmers and their families when they fall on hard times.
  • $4 million to rebuild and save the National Centre for Farmer Health.
  • $45 million to protect our rivers and waterways, improve the health of agricultural land and help farmers manage water use more efficiently.

Victoria is an economic powerhouse and for sustainable growth, the implementation of regional workforce plans and development plans for priority sectors as well as infrastructure projects, would prove to be sound approach to risk managing high expectations and competing needs.

May 2015


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