Old buildings will be fixed, new schools will be constructed and transport, public housing and tourism infrastructure will be upgraded across Victoria as the government in that state pours billions into the construction sector.

Launching the first part of its $2.7 billion Building Works package, the Victorian Government says the program will generate up to 3,700 direct jobs in construction and thousands more across supply chains including manufacturing, logistics, transportation, warehouse and retail.

At the centre of the package is $1.18 billion in school infrastructure projects that will create space for more than 21,000 extra students.

This includes ten new schools, upgrades and modernisation of 57 schools, purchasing and refurbishing relocatable school buildings, modifications for students with disability and school and TAFE maintenance.

The package also includes:

  • 168 new public houses and upgrade of 23,000 more existing public dwellings.
  • $382 million in upgrades, maintenance and new experience of tourism infrastructure – including delivering more than 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in Ararat Hills and upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes.
  • $328 million for transport including resurfacing road patching and resurfacing, upgrading 300 kilometres of regional track, repair of more than fifteen train stations, train and tram maintenance and upgrades of piers along the coast
  • $100 million in upgrades of CFA and SES stations, disability accommodation, mental health and aged care facilities
  • A $180 million planning and acceleration fund.

Victorian Premier Danial Andrew said the works would generate employment as the state moves to re-start its economy.

“We’re getting to work on hundreds of new projects across the state, meaning shovels in the ground – and boots in the mud – within a matter of weeks and months,” Andrews said.

“From upgrading our roads and rail, to critical maintenance for social housing and new projects for our tourist destinations, this package will create jobs for our local tradies and so many others – and support local businesses all over Victoria.”

Master Builders Association of Victoria chief executive officer Rebecca Casson welcomed the announcement, which she said is timely as the sector was faces a slowdown in commercial work.

“The Building Works package is important because it includes hundreds of projects that have been selected precisely because they can launch quickly, pushing shovels into the ground within weeks or months,” Casson said.

“Master Builders’ recent forecasts have shown alarming worst-case scenarios that our economy could face if governments don’t implement stimulus now.”

“Getting these types of projects underway immediately is important. Master Builders Victoria has identified that the pipeline of commercial construction projects is facing a steep decline over the next two years, with activity plummeting by more than 16.3 per cent over 2020-2021, and a further 9.3 per cent in 2021/22. The spoiling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have shattered private sector demand. Those projects must have government support and stimulus in order to recover.”

Despite welcoming the overall injection of funding, Casson encouraged the government to provide easier access for small business to the state’s Construction Supply Register which list suppliers who have prequalified for construction related work on state government building projects.