A VICTORIAN budget dubbed “a budget for the ‘burbs” has seen the Labor state government splash taxpayers’ cash across Frankston and ultra-marginal sandbelt seats along the Frankston line ahead of November’s state election.
Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke hailed the budget, announced last Tuesday (1 May) by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, as “getting things done for Frankston”.
Millions of dollars for classroom upgrades at several Frankston area schools have been allocated in the 2018-19 state budget.
Students at Monterey Secondary College, Mahogany Rise Primary School, Mount Erin Secondary College, Ballam Park Primary School, Karingal Primary School and Kingsley Park Primary School will benefit from improvements to classrooms.
“We’re upgrading our local schools — but more than just bricks and mortars, this will give local families peace of mind about their kids’ future,” Mr Edbrooke said in a statement.
A $1.3 million plan to modernise classrooms at the Nepean Special School in Seaford and $15 million towards a Frankston North Education Precinct was also confirmed in this year’s state budget.
A long-awaited duplication of Lathams Road in Carrum Downs, from Oliphant Way to Frankston-Dandenong Road, adding two lanes to increase a 2.5-kilometre stretch of the road to four lanes was also confirmed in the state budget.
A new bridge will also be built over Peninsula Link as part of the Lathams Road upgrade.
Carrum Labor MP Sonya Kilkenny said “people in Melbourne’s south-east will spend less time in traffic”.
The Committee For Greater Frankston welcomed the Lathams Road duplication, estimated to cost more than $80 million, formally announced by Victorian Roads Minister Luke Donnellan on Tuesday 2 May.
Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking said the announcement was “fantastic news” for Carrum Downs Industrial Estate businesses and commuters.
“Lathams Road is the backbone of the precinct and its duplication will provide a massive boost to productivity by reducing traffic congestion and increasing access at peak times,” she said.
“The industrial estate is one of our region’s economic success stories. It generates $2.85 billion a year and employs almost 6000 people. Jobs growth in the precinct has risen 6.5 per cent each year, 13 times greater than the south-eastern region’s jobs growth of half a per cent.”
Ms Hosking said traffic congestion on Lathams Road and surrounding streets had restricted the growth of industrial estate businesses.
The committee, which has long lobbied for the Lathams Road upgrade, states it is “independently funded and bipartisan [and] brings together prominent local business and community leaders to drive strategic change”.
Ms Hosking said VicRoads getting on board to duplicate Lathams Road had been pivotal in getting funds allocated to the project.
The state government also announced road safety upgrades on Golf Links Road from Peninsula Link to Baxter-Tooradin Road and Grant Road from Baxter to Frankston-Flinders Road in Langwarrin South.
“The committee thanks MPs Sonya Kilkenny and Paul Edbrooke as well as VicRoads’ regional director for metro southeast Aidan McGann and his team.”
The state budget also included money to establish mental health crisis hubs in hospital emergency departments, including at Frankston Hospital, and $172 million to “make priority TAFE courses free”.
Mr Edbrooke said this will give more Frankston residents the chance to train at Chisholm TAFE to upskill to get “a good job”.
TAFE courses regarded as a priority and offered free of charge to students include agriculture, construction, engineering and nursing courses.
Municipal Association of Victoria president Cr Mary Lalios said the state budget is “impressive” in funding transport infrastructure and services.
The peak body representing councils urged the state government to invest and take action to help tackle the recycling crisis caused by China no longer accepting most of the glass and plastics in recycling materials exported from Australia to China.
“A recycling crisis has swept across Australia following China’s import restrictions. The State Sustainability Fund must invest in new initiatives to en-sure our recycling industry can be sustainable,” she said.
“We call on the government to allocate urgent funds for priority projects once the state’s recycling taskforce submits its report in the coming weeks.”
Frankston Council expects an annual recycling charge rise of $38 a year for ratepayers across the municipality as the China crisis begins to bite.