When the Andrews Labor Government was elected, we promised to put people first. As our state begins its recovery from the global pandemic, people will continue to be our priority.

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 delivers on the investments that will see our community recover – and come back even stronger.

As kids get back into the classroom, this Budget delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools – making sure students have the classrooms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. This includes $21.43 million for Mickleham Primary School to rebuild the school on an expanded site.

Land will also be acquired for a new Merrifield West Secondary College (interim name), giving local families confidence about their kids’ future. The Government’s investment will also support local jobs, with our school infrastructure build expected to create more than 6,400 jobs across the state.

Roads connect us to work, school and family, and the Labor Government is committed to getting Victorians to where they need to be sooner, and safer. That’s why the Budget invests in a local roads blitz, improving our metropolitan road network, and creating jobs. This includes $9.11 million to upgrade the Mickleham Road – Aitken College intersection, delivering new signals to improve traffic flow and safety for drivers and pedestrians.

Our buses also connect our community. This year’s Budget will improve our local bus network delivering a school special bus from Greenvale to Elevation Secondary College. Additional investment will deliver a new bus service to connect Mernda and Craigieburn. Scheduled to start in 2022, we’ll deliver the service even sooner with trips to begin from next year.

The Labor Government will also continue capital planning and design for a new local community hospital in Craigieburn, giving local families confidence that care is close to home.

To help get more Victorians back into work, the Labor Government is setting itself an ambitious target – creating 400,000 new jobs by 2025, half of them by 2022.

Our new Jobs for Victoria initiative will help locals find a new job – and with it, security, stability and certainty. This includes $250 million to partner with employers to cover the wages of at least 10,000 new workers.

These positions will be for Victorians hardest hit by this pandemic, including women, young people, retrenched workers and people who have been long-term unemployed.

This investment will also deliver targeted and tailored support for those who need it – such as mentoring, career counselling or more intensive support.

And because we know too many Victorians are having to choose between going to work sick and losing wages, the Labor Government will invest $5 million to develop a new Secure Work Pilot Scheme. Once in place, the two-year pilot will provide up to five days of sick and carer’s pay at the national minimum wage for casual or insecure workers in priority industries.

We also know Victorians of all backgrounds have been hit hard by this pandemic. This Budget invests $34.2 million, to help make sure our multicultural communities have the support they need to recover.

This year’s Budget will help nearly one million families save hundreds on their power bill. Concession card holders, such as Victorians receiving JobSeeker payments, will be eligible for a one-off $250 payment to help cover the cost of their energy bills.

An extra 250,000 low-income households will benefit from new more efficient heating and cooling, while heating, cooling or hot water systems will be upgraded across an extra 35,000 social housing homes – reducing bills for tenants and making winter and summer more comfortable.

The Labor Government’s Solar Homes will also be expanded to an extra 42,000 rooftop solar rebates plus 14,500 solar batteries, cutting power bills for local families. And for the very first time, small businesses will also be eligible.

We’re also delivering the biggest investment in public and community housing in Australia, ever. This investment will build more than 12,000 new homes – making sure thousands of Victorians have a place to call home, and thousands more Victorians have a job. The City of Hume is a priority area for investment, with procurement starting straight away to build new homes.

Even with kids back at school, the balancing act that many families know all too well isn’t easy. That’s why this Budget will make kinder free in 2021 and deliver outside school hours care at up to 400 extra schools, saving parents money and giving them greater flexibility when it comes to work and care.

2020 has also reminded us of what matters most in life – the health and wellbeing of the people we love. As we begin our state’s recovery, that will continue to be our focus.

This Budget will ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. That includes nearly $870 million for mental health, including to implement the Royal Commission into Mental Health’s interim report findings and recommendations and deliver care for local families.

This is a Budget to repair, recover and make us stronger than before.  This is a Budget, and a Government, that puts people first.