Victorian State Budget 2018/19 - What we love (and what we don't)

We really care about how our public funding affects health. Like, really care. Young people are the ones who will be working to pay taxes, and we should be paying all this dosh for things that will improve our health into the future.

So that’s why we’re giving you the facts about what we love and don’t love about the 2018 Victorian Budget. This budget affects us, our friends, our money and our future - all of us care about it. We’ll give it to you straight.

Summary

We love:

  1. Money for walking and cycling upgrades
  2. Allocations for metropolitan hospital upgrades and $627 million for regional hospitals
  3. Plans for a tram line between Caulfield and Rowville (but not enough funding for trams!)
  4. $55.7 million for more metropolitan bus services
  5. Train line upgrades for Pakenham/Cranbourne and Sunbury line

We don’t love:

  1. Cycling upgrades earmarked don’t include Sydney Road
  2. No new money for social housing or housing affordability (oh my god!)
  3. $2.2 billion spent on upgrading suburban roads including the North East Link and Mordialloc Bypass, money which could be better spent on healthier forms of transport
  4. No money for accessible tram stops
  5. Only $500k allocated for young people & youth engagement

😍🙏 We Love 💕🙌

1. $22.7 million for walking and cycling upgrades

It’s a fact - cycling and walking reduces your chances of heart disease and even cancer. Being active in your area brings communities together. Active transport should be a priority for our state and our communities to promote wellbeing, reduce the burden on our public health system, and improve social connection.

Not just that, but good active transport infrastructure will relieve the burden on our overworked roads and public transport infrastructure. 

We welcome the investment of $22.7 million to improve our cycling and walking networks (especially the Upfield bike path and pedestrian infrastructure in Essendon), but when compared to the $2.2 billion being spent on cars we advocate for an increase in funding and further prioritisation of forms of transit that will make us healthy rather than unhealthy.

2. $619 million for metropolitan hospital upgrades and $627 million for regional hospitals

 Well, we love health, don’t we? We care about both primary health and acute care, and adequate funding to expand and maintain our current hospitals is required to continue providing world class, free care to the State’s population.

 A huge injection of funding into some of our most-needed areas such as Sunshine’s Emergency Department and the Alfred’s Main Ward Block is sorely needed, and we applaud this solid commitment from the State Government. 

3. $3 million to plan a tram line between Caulfield and Rowville (but not enough on trams!)

We’ve lived in the public transport struggletown that is Monash University, so any commitment to improving connection for those who may not be able to afford a car in the area gets a big thumbs up from us.

We’d be very keen to see a train extension to the area however, and the fact that no other money went to improving our tram lines is disappointing.

4. $55.7 million for more metropolitan bus services

Buses are a key link for many, particularly far-flung areas of Melbourne. Improving bus services to be more frequent and reliable increases uptake significantly - we’re happy to see a significant commitment here.

 

5. Train line upgrades including $572 million for Pakenham/Cranbourne and Sunbury line

The Pakenham/Cranbourne line is like sardines daily. With a much-needed injection of cash for duplication of the rail line and increased off-peak servicing, maybe we can rediscover the meaning of personal space. Hooray!

 

❌😢 We Don’t Love 💔🚫 

1. Cycling upgrades earmarked don’t include Sydney Road

Hold up. Have you heard of #parkoff? The State Government controls our major roads including Sydney Road via VicRoads, and there are some major danger hotspots that are damaging to our health. 

Upgrades such as removing on-street parking in favour of separated cycleways, widening pedestrian zones, and encouraging off-street parking instead will reduce injuries, improve environments for cyclists, pedestrians and cars who don’t have to worry about injuring others, and improve the environment for traders.

We reckon there should have been money allocated for this sort of upgrade on Sydney Road - and we won’t stop working for it. If you care about it too - let's work on it together. 

 

2. No new money for social housing or housing affordability (oh my god!)

This is absolutely crazy. If you look at the desperate need for funding to support public and affordable housing outlined in Infrastructure Victoria’s recommendations, the State Government’s planning and even from think tanks like the research of the Grattan Institute, it’s clear there is a massive deficit in affordable housing across Australia.

Approximately 100,000 vulnerable, low income households are not having their needs currently met by social housing (let alone into the future!). Secure housing is key for health, wellbeing, and access to opportunity. This will have a huge negative impact on the health of our city into the future.

3. $2.2 billion spent on upgrading suburban roads including the North East Link and Mordialloc Bypass, money which could be better spent on healthier forms of transport

The UN recommends 20% of transport funding should go to active transport. Melbourne has a huge amount of freeways per capita compared to many other OECD countries. We’re still continuing to spend an exorbitant amount of money on cars and roads compared to other forms of transport - and this budget is no exception!

 With the state government selecting road projects in marginal electorates, it’s hard to see this allocation as anything but a political gambit. Projects like the Mordialloc Bypass weren’t even recommended by Infrastructure Victoria, the body meant to take the politics out of planning.

We want to see smart investment in transport, balanced investment in transport, investments that will connect us better, get cars off the road and improve health - not political setpieces that will harm us in the long term.

4. No money for accessible tram stops

It’s a requirement for the state government via the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport to have 80% of the tram network accessible by 2017 and 100% by 2032 - so why hasn’t more money been contributed to developing accessible tram stops?

Areas like High Street in Northcote use accessible tram stops in combination with a separated bike path and widened footpath to make liveable, person-focussed areas. We’d like to see this kind of money put into Sydney Road to facilitate accessible tram stops, a separated bike lane and widened pedestrian areas. 

5. Only 500k allocated for young people & youth programs

Obviously we’re biased, but we truly believe in the power of young people to enact change and lead our society into the future. We also believe that young people should be supported fully by the government and given as much opportunity as possible to create the future of our state.

500k is a tiny amount compared to the amount of money contributed to, say, roads - and money for young people has the potential for a much larger net positive impact on our state’s future and health.


Keen to advocate on issues like these to the state government? Join us at Action for Health as a volunteer or team member as we work on issues like these up to the state election!

🌿🙌🚫✌️🍀😇🙏🚲🚦🍀🍃🌼