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Regional Victoria wins big in the 2017-18 Victorian Budget

A major upgrade to the regional rail network and regional roads and a boost for regional businesses with a 25 per cent reduction in payroll tax has made regional Victoria one of the big winners from the 2017/18 State Budget.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Acting Chief Executive Bryce Prosser said key commitments in regional Victoria would boost the confidence of local businesses and improve connectivity across the state.

“Regional Victoria will benefit greatly from the significant investments in this State Budget, with $4 billion specifically dedicated to the regions in agribusiness, rail, roads and business policies,” he said.

A $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package, delivering better train services across regional Victoria, will create 2,000 jobs across the state, as well as benefitting regional businesses and residents.

“This rail package will make it easier to travel around Victoria, and with $10 million allocated to develop a new airport rail plan, Victoria is working towards a rail network that starts at Melbourne airport and links to all that Victoria has to offer,” Mr Prosser said.

“We are also pleased to see a long-standing priority of ours recognised with the $100 million commitment to the North East Link, $90 million toward an expanded Investment Attraction and Assistance Program and $530.6 million to maintain and upgrade regional roads and bridges.

“Victoria’s reputation as a great place to live and work can only continue if we invest in it. This Budget has a focus on regional Victoria and is committed to ensuring businesses in these regions have the best chance to grow and employ more people.”

Other key announcements for regional Victoria in the budget applauded by the Victorian Chamber include:

·         Bringing forward the increase in payroll tax threshold by a year

·         $531 million to improve roads in regional Victoria including, including $260.3 million boost to regional road maintenance

·         $97 million to build the next stage of upgrades to Yan Yean Road Upgrade

·         $435 million for Gippsland Rail, creating 1000 jobs in the La Trobe Valley

·         $311.1 million to deliver 39 new VLocity carriages, to increase rail services for regional Victorians.

“Transport has received significant investment in this budget and by improving connectivity across the state and reducing travel times, we expect increased productivity for many Victorian businesses. This will boost the confidence of all Victorian businesses and promote jobs growth,” Mr Prosser said.

“Victorian businesses must be able to compete against interstate and global competitors, and the Victorian Chamber will continue to advocate for pro-business policies that create jobs and promote growth.”

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