TAFE, tax wins in budget

02 May 2018 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Ellen Ebsary TAFE students and businesses in the North East will be the big winners in the 201819 Victorian state budget. At a cost of $172 million, 30 priority TAFE courses will be provided for free including automotive, plumbing, engineering, agriculture and mental health certificates from January 1, 2019. Changes will also come into effect next year reducing the pay roll tax rate to 2.425 per cent for regional businesses who pay at least 85 per cent of their payroll to regional employees. In his address to the media following the budgets release, Treasurer Tim Pallas placed significance on the cut. For regional employers this will mean a 50 per cent reduction in the pay roll tax across two budgets, he said. Mr Pallas also described the road maintenance blitz as the biggest ever seen in Victoria, and Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes said there was $56.6 million in it for the North East. Thats in addition to a $100 million fund available to country councils, for them to put up their projects on a merit basis thats something councils have been raising with me, finding it difficult to keep up with managing their own road network repairs, she said. In terms of specific road projects, Kiewa Valley Highway upgrades between Wodonga and Mount Beauty including lane widening and intersection upgrades will be completed in 2020 with the total investment to be $7.6 million. Regional Roads Victoria will be established within VicRoads to better plan, maintain and advocate for the regional road network, with $17.4 million to be spent setting it up. Existing staff at regional VicRoads offices such as those in Wodonga will report to the Chief Regional Roads Officer, at the Regional Roads division, based at Ballarat. For schools, there was no news additional to the projects announced in April but budget papers showed Harrietville Primary School will receive $247,000 in the 2018-19 year, Rutherglen High School $630,000 and Benalla College $2.7 million as part of existing projects.Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.