Victoria’s state election is less than a month away and the pledges and promises from the major and minor parties are gaining momentum. It’s set to be a tough battle for votes, and an even tougher one in the planning, property and general liveability stakes with promises for new ministerial positions, new hospitals and even separating the suburb of Sunbury from the City of Hume to become its own local government area.
So here’s what you need to know:
The big issues:
Population growth: Victoria (and Melbourne’s) population is booming, the state recently topped more than 6.3 million people. How the state and its capital will cope with this rate of growth is something all political parties are looking closely at.
Public transport: Perhaps the most complained-about service in Melbourne and surrounds (apart from road congestion) is public transport. How will the next state government deal with the congestion not only on roads but also on rail and trams?
The pledges (so far)
Among the government’s big ticket pledges are:
At their ‘official’ campaign launch at Monash University on Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged money for community hospitals to be built in Whittlesea, Eltham, Point Cook and Fisherman’s Bend.
Amongst his previous pledges, Mr Andrews has promised a $50 billion outer-suburban rail loop, which would include an underground service built between Cheltenham and Werribee – adding new stations and linking to Melbourne Airport. (A further pledge has also been made for money for a regional fast rail plan).
He has also promised a $1.24 billion solar power program, allowing Victorian home owners to install solar panels for half-price, paying the rest of the cost of the system over four years through an interest-free loan and a further investment in solar batteries for homes.
At the Coalition’s ‘official’ campaign launch in Ivanhoe, Opposition leader Matthew Guy promised to separate Sunbury from the City of Hume to make it the City of Sunbury.
He also introduced his promise for a Minister for Geelong given the regional city’s huge growth.
Running on a “decentralisation ticket”, the Coalition will introduce a minister for decentralisation if elected. In short, they’ll be looking to move jobs and people out of Melbourne into regional areas like Bendigo, Ballarat and Shepparton.
The Coalition is looking to make it quicker to travel to and from regional areas by train, pledging $19 billion for a regional fast rail.
They’ll also be looking to slow down population and development growth in Melbourne. In a major policy announcement by Mr Guy, the Coalition would set up a population commission to oversee population growth, development of suburbs and towns and lock further development in these areas until enough teachers, doctors, health-care workers and police were working in the area.
It follows a pledge earlier in the year to change Melbourne’s zoning laws to prevent over-development. Mr Guy wants to see stricter rules for building on established streets in Melbourne if elected.
He has also pledged to release more land in outer Melbourne, in an effort to tackle housing affordability, and promised to extend the railway from Cranbourne to Clyde, one of Melbourne’s main growth areas.
The Coalition has also pledged:
- $175 million for Hospital in the Home (better home care for the elderly and those with illness/disability who need extra care at home).
- $650,000 for a rural students network to link students who have moved from rural areas to the CBD to study.
The Greens have put together a plan promising to transform the urban planning system. Leader Samantha Ratnam wants to mandate that a proportion of developments be dedicated to affordable homes. The Greens also want to see new commercial and residential builds with 8-star energy ratings.
The Greens have a five-point plan to add solar power to rental homes and public housing, ensuring residents benefit from cost savings. The plan would cost $377 million.
A plan to deal with urban heat-islands in the inner suburbs has also been pledged. The Greens will give local councils the power to add more green spaces through planning schemes.
The Greens have already pledged to support the ALP and direct preferences to them.
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