People keep flooding in to Victoria and the state government is riding the wave to continued surpluses.

Treasurer Tim Pallas’ third budget will promise more than $8 billion in surpluses over the next four years, with a $1.2 billion surplus for this financial year.

Population growth in Victoria is driving housing prices and construction and the state government is reaping the stamp duty windfall.

Debt is being kept below the level the government inherited and the push for more infrastructure projects, which in turn is driving more jobs, is expected to continue.

“We’ve increased our level of infrastructure investment from around about $4.9 billion to $10.1 billion in this budget,” Mr Pallas said on Monday.
Already the government has made pre-budget announcements of more level-crossing removals planning for the North East Link, a regional rail renewal and an investigation in an airport rail link.

But the regional rail projects are dependent on federal cash and a stoush is looming between the two governments over the $1.45 billion price tag.

The money is owed under the asset recycling scheme after Victoria sold the Port of Melbourne lease for $9.7 billion.

The $1.45 billion is included in Tuesday’s budget but the projects will not go ahead without the commonwealth funds, Mr Pallas said.

And while the government keeps thrusting more infrastructure projects into the pipeline, it has a law and order headache that doesn’t seem to be going away.

To fix it, $2 billion over four years has already been announced for extra police and community safety initiatives.

There is also a $308 million serious offender manaagement overhaul in the works and more money for the Ice Action Plan.


By Kaitlyn Offer