Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, has defended the state’s budget, which includes a focus on infrastructure spending. Andrews stated that building the necessary infrastructure for the future is not a burden, but rather a necessary step to ensure the quality of life for Victorians is not compromised. The state’s opposition leader, John Pesutto, has criticized the budget, stating that the government’s plan to tackle debt levels is to “tax the bejesus out of our state.” The budget includes tax measures that will see almost 400,000 Victorians paying land tax for the first time.
Victoria’s Big Build program includes several major infrastructure projects, such as the Suburban Rail Loop, Melbourne Airport Rail, and the Metro Tunnel. However, the airport rail construction has been paused as part of a federal review of the country’s infrastructure pipeline. The federal government has previously estimated that Melbourne will overtake Sydney as Australia’s most populous city by 2032.
Despite the focus on infrastructure spending, Victoria lost its AAA credit rating in 2020. Treasurer Tim Pallas has acknowledged that it will take some time to regain that rating.
In conclusion, while there is disagreement over the state’s budget and how to tackle debt levels, there is a consensus that infrastructure spending is necessary for Victoria’s future growth and quality of life. The success of projects like the Suburban Rail Loop and Melbourne Airport Rail will be crucial in ensuring Melbourne remains a competitive and livable city in the years to come.