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Health and education wins in Victorian Budget

Health and education wins in Victorian Budget

Monday, May 24, 2021

The City of Whittlesea has welcomed significant investment in local health services and educational facilities in the State Government’s 2021/22 Budget.

Alongside investment in new primary schools in Donnybrook and Wollert West, the Victorian Government has allocated funding for a secondary school in Wollert East. This will be constructed on the same site as the primary school and kinder currently being built. 

City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said a large proportion of our population are young families with children at home, so investing in schools now is essential.

“Having schools close to home is a key part of what makes neighbourhoods liveable, and school communities often help people build broader social networks. Helping our communities feel connected to each other and have a sense of belonging is a key priority for Council. This investment will help build on strong existing foundations in some of our less established suburbs,” Ms Wilson said.

“We’re also pleased about the State Government’s investment in building students’ science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. This is critical to ensuring our young people can learn and develop skills locally and are prepared for the job markets of the future.  

“A specialist school is set to be built just over the City of Whittlesea border, in the City of Hume, which will bring enormous benefit to our younger residents who might not thrive in mainstream schools. Having Mount Ridley Specialist School on our doorstep will expand accessibility and inclusivity options for our residents with diverse needs.

“Another win for our younger residents is the funding announced for a dedicated children’s emergency department at the Northern Hospital,” Ms Wilson said.  

The State Government has also pledged funding to plan for the future needs of the adult emergency department at the Northern Hospital and has chosen Mernda as the site for Whittlesea’s Community Hospital.

“The City of Whittlesea is home to a relatively large proportion of vulnerable groups who are at risk of poorer mental health outcomes, including women in the perinatal period, women who experience family violence, aboriginal people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” Ms Wilson said.

“As a result, we really welcome funding for continued delivery of the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service at Epping and some additional acute mental health beds at the Northern Hospital.

“We’re also pleased that an adult and older-adult mental health and wellbeing service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health challenges is being established in the City of Whittlesea. This project has been fast tracked and is set to open in mid-2022,” Ms Wilson said.

“Council has been advocating on behalf of the community for fairer access to health and mental health services for some time, so we’re really pleased our calls have resonated with the State Government and are reflected in this budget.

“It’s great that the State Government has made such a significant investment in support services and celebrations of diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities around Victoria. We know this will be really meaningful for our local LGBTIQ+ community and we’re looking forward to continuing our work in promoting equality in the City of Whittlesea.

“We thank the Victorian Government for its ongoing commitment to delivering the services and facilities the people who live, work and study in the City of Whittlesea really need and deserve,” Ms Wilson said.

Other budget highlights include:

  • Refurbishment of the Doreen CFA facility
  • An upgrade for Craigieburn Road East (from the Hume Freeway Overpass to Epping Road) to improve safety and travel times.
  • Increased investment in library services and programs to better meet the needs of Victorians and stimulate job creation.