Launching the first phase of a $2.7 billion Building Works package, the Victorian Government states that the program will create up to 3,700 direct employment positions in building and thousands more within supply chains that include manufacturing, logistics, transportation, warehouse and retail.

The core of the package is a $1.18 billion plan encompassing school infrastructure projects that will make room for more than 21,000 additional students.

This will mean ten new schools, the upgrading and modernising of 57 schools, buying and renovating relocatable school buildings, modifications for students with special challenges, and school and TAFE maintenance.

Additionally the package features:

  • 168 new public homes and the upgrade of 23,000 additional standing public dwellings,
  • $382 million in upgrades, maintenance and new projects of tourism infrastructure – including the delivery of more than 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in Ararat Hills and enhancements at the Gippsland Lakes,
  • $328 million for transport, encompassing resurfacing road patching and resurfacing, performing upgrades on 300 kilometres of regional track, the renovation of more than 15 train stations, train and tram maintenance and enhancements of piers on the coast,
  • $100 million in enhancements of CFA and SES stations, disability accommodations, mental health and senior care facilities,
  • A planning and acceleration fund of $180 million.

Victorian Premier Danial Andrews stated that the works would create jobs as the state tries to reignite its economy.

Master Builders Association of Victoria chief executive officer Rebecca Casson applauded the announcement, which she deemed timely as the sector is experiencing a slowing pace of commercial work. The Building Works package, she points out, features hundreds of projects that be launched with speed—something greatly needed to boost the economy.

Master Builders Victoria, she points out, has revealed that the supply stream of commercial building projects is facing a sharp decline in the next two years, with activity decreasing by more than 16.3 per cent over 2020-2021, and an additional 9.3 per cent in 2021/22. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have destroyed private sector demand. Those projects must be supported and funded by the government, she said.

Despite encouraging the financial injection, Casson advised the government to supply more accessible access, to speak, for small business to the state’s Construction Supply Register, which specifies suppliers who have prequalified for building work on state government construction projects.