THE Wimmera will receive money for crisis accommodation, roads, kindergartens and emergency services in the 2019-20 state budget.
The budget, which was released on Monday, includes $23.9 million for emergency accommodation for victims of family violence.
Some of the money will go towards upgrading crisis accommodation in Horsham.
Horsham Domestic Violence support advocate Simone O'Brien, who was Senator Derryn Hinch's running mate for the Victorian Senate at this month's Federal Election, said this funding commitment was several months in the making.
"I got in contact with Senator Hinch and asked if I could supply a list of what Horsham needs, which all the members of Horsham's White Ribbon committee contributed to," she said.
"Then Stuart Grimley (a senator for Mr Hinch's Party representing Western Victoria) got in touch and said he would like to meet me.
A spokesperson for Mr Grimley said the state government had not yet specified what the money would be used for, but it could go towards upgrading existing facilities.
Mrs O'Brien said there was currently housing for families fleeing violence in Horsham, but no security.
"There are no surveillance cameras to monitor if the perpetrators come back," she said.
"Most of the housing is full, and we can't even find new rental homes because they are all occupied by windfarm workers. Any White Ribbon event I raise money for I keep in Horsham so I can put people up in motels."
Uniting Wimmera executive officer Josh Koenig called on the government to go a step further.
"The link to crisis accommodation and other housing services is an important part of supporting people experiencing family violence. That is why we reiterate our call on the state government to set up an Orange Door service in Horsham," he said.
The Orange Door is a free domestic abuse treatment centre that will operate in at least seven locations statewide by the end of 2019.
Children in Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians and Yarriambiack Shires will be among the first in the state to have access to subsidised kinder.
The government is investing $882 million to ensure three-year-olds have access to at least five hours of kinder a week by 2022, increasing to 15 hours over the next decade.
The rollout will start in Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack municipalities next year.
It will then roll out to Ararat and West Wimmera municipalities in 2021.
Pauline Butler, executive officer of Horsham and District Kindergarten Association, welcomed the announcement though said she was waiting for more detail from the government.
"Having access to qualified early years educators for the two years prior to school will really assist childrens' emotional education," she said.
"There are lots of unanswered questions from providers' point of view though, particularly around capacity-building. We need to make sure we can take three as well as four-year-olds at all facilities."
The association cares for more than 400 children at 12 facilities across the Wimmera, half of which are in the shires that will have access to subsidised kinder.
Longerenong, TAFE to get funding boosts
Longerenong College will receive money to upgrade its education and accommodation facilities.
College head John Goldsmith said the money in the budget follows on from a state government commitment last year.
In October, the state government promised $6.1 million to upgrade agricultural colleges at Longerenong, Dookie and Glenormiston.
Mr Goldsmith said the money would go to building new accommodation at the college.
"We are finalising plans for a new accommodation area, which would be standalone, self-contained units, so very different from the existing accommodation we have, which is dormitory style," he said.
Mr Goldsmith said the new accommodation was needed at the college.
"We want to be able to accommodate different user groups, not just full-time students," he said.
"Also, as our international student program develops, we need to expand our accommodation.
"There were times last year when our accommodation was completely full."
Mr Goldsmith said he was pleased to receive the money.
"We will now work through the process to see how much we'll get and go from there," he said.
"The accommodation upgrade is part of our master plan that we developed a few years ago."
The government has also promised $46.3 million to upgrade and redevelop TAFEs across regional Victoria.
This includes supporting the delivery of the Certificate III in Shearing at sites across Victoria from 2020, and adding The Diploma and Certificate III of Early Childhood Education and Care to the Free TAFE list.
Barry Wright, executive director of Federation University TAFE, said it would continue working with the government and local industry to ensure students were trained to fill gaps in their regions' job market.
"The Wimmera Campus now has 30 more Individual Support students, 22 more Nursing students and 17 new Horticulture students compared to last year. These are all Free TAFE programs," he said.
Horsham Primary School will receive $2.1 million as part of a statewide program to target and remove asbestos in schools by the end of 2020.
Tax cut for regional businesses
A Horsham senior accountant has welcomed plans to reduce the tax on businesses paying above a certain amount in wages to employees.
The state government announced in Monday's budget the payroll tax-free threshold will be increased from $650,000 to $700,000 by 2022-23. By then, regional businesses will only have to pay a quarter of what metropolitan businesses do in payroll tax.
Lee O'Grady, senior accountant at Watts Price, said this would help Wimmera businesses' cashflow.
"It's an additional cost on top of employing staff, so a lower rate will help businesses grow and they might even be able to employ another staff member," she said.
Emergency services in Yarriambiack Shire will also benefit from the budget.
The government has allocated $191 million to meet the growing demands of ambulance services, including services at Warracknabeal.
Single-officer branches at Rupanyup and St Arnaud will also be upgraded to dual-officer crews.
Roads across the state will be upgraded after the government promised $804 million across the regional road network.
That includes $425 million to carry out maintenance across regional Victoria, including upgrades on the Western Highway between Stawell and the South Australian border.
In Ararat, residents will be able to enjoy free public Wi-Fi after a $16.7 million commitment.
The budget also includes a plan to upgrade Ararat Primary School.
However, a number of big Wimmera projects missed out on funding in the 2019-20, including the Warracknabeal Education Precinct and the West Wimmera Rural Pipeline.
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