State Budget 2024-2025 Helping Families on the Bellarine

07 May 2024

The Allan Labor Government’s first Budget is dedicated to helping families in Bellarine.

Whether it’s helping with the cost of living, making sure our kids can be their best, record funding for our healthcare system or continuing to invest in more of the services families rely on – the Victorian Budget 2024/25 invests in our community.

With the current cost of living, covering supplies and extracurricular activities can be hard on families doing it tough. Uniforms, camps and excursions – it all adds up.

That’s why we are providing a one-off School Saving Bonus to help cover the costs. This $400 bonus will help make sure our kids have everything they need for the school day, supporting families with children at government schools and families at our non-government schools who need it most.

Dedicated to helping cover the cost of learning essentials and the extracurriculars that make school fun – we’ll work with schools to make it available for the start of the 2025 school year.

We’re also tripling our free Glasses for Kids program – making sure even more young Victorians can be their best in the classroom, and beyond. Having already helped 34,000 kids across our state – this investment will help 74,000 more, providing free vision screening and prescription glasses for students who need it.

And because we know that learning isn’t limited to the classroom, we’re investing $6 million to extend our Get Active Kids vouchers – providing up to $200 to help eligible families with the cost of sporting club registration, uniforms and equipment.

Last year, our Free Kinder program saved around 140,000 families up to $2,500 in fees, helping with the cost of living and ensuring cost was not a barrier to participation. This year’s Budget continues this investment with an additional $129 million to continue delivering Free Kinder and the statewide rollout of Three‑Year‑Old Kinder.

An extra $19 million will deliver new Building Blocks grants – enabling kinders to renovate and upgrade early learning facilities. From expanding classrooms to funding native gardens, upgrading technology or transforming outdoor play spaces, these projects are an investment in our youngest learners.

We know that regional public transport is vital in connecting our communities. That’s why this Budget also invests $133.4 million to support our regional rail network and upgrade the 150-year-old historic rail tunnel between Geelong and South Geelong.

The Labor Government continues to back regional tourism and local jobs by investing in better transport links, with support to continue the Portarlington ferry service. The ferry from the City to the Bellarine Peninsula provides another convenient transport alternative for visitors and locals, whether for work or leisure.

Becoming a parent is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, but our Maternal and Child Health nurses are there to guide new families through those hazy early days, making sure mums and bubs are doing well. In this Budget, we're making sure Victorian families have the support they need – with $28.8 million for those important checkups for all young families.


We also know that for too long, women's health issues have been overlooked and underdiagnosed. This Budget invests $18.3 million to improve women's health and wellbeing, with support for 12 women's health organisations to provide preventative programs through community outreach and  education.

We know how important our frontline healthcare services are for patients and their families. Since we came to government, Victoria’s public hospitals now employ over 5,000 more doctors, and over 13,000 more nurses. During the pandemic, when our health system was stretched like never before, we acted decisively – providing record funding to bolster our health system.

Since the pandemic, the cost of running our health system has continued to increase – but every cent is worth it to keep Victorians healthy. That’s why we’re making the biggest multi-year investment in our health system in Victoria’s history. It’ll mean our hospitals have the long-term certainty they need over the coming years.

We’re also backing the community organisations that provide help to Victorians when they need it most – such as The Outpost, which provides critical support, including food and clothing, to people experiencing homelessness across Geelong.

As the cost of living rises, we’re also delivering an extra $3.5 million to support organisations and neighborhood houses to provide food relief, as well as continuing the work of our six regional food relief hubs – including in Geelong.

And we know just how important community-based food security organisations are. That’s why this Budget provides $106,000 to continue the work of the Farm My School project at Bellarine Secondary College – teaching kids how to grow their own food and encouraging students to pursue a career in horticulture.

The Labor Government is also supporting local First Nations young people, with $258,000 for the Strong Brother Strong Sister program to continue delivering important suicide prevention services.

Every young Victorian deserves a great education – and that’s why this Budget also provides funding to expand the Geelong Chances pilot program, run by Western Chances. This program will deliver an extra 40 scholarships for education-related costs, making sure money isn’t a barrier to a student’s success.

Earlier this year, the Labor Government delivered a historic apology to victims of harrowing historical abuse and neglect in institutional care before 1990. This Budget will also invest $165 million for redress for these Victorians – recognising the ongoing and lifelong impact of their experiences.

Each investment is an investment in the people of Bellarine. 

Because this is a Budget – and a Government – dedicated to helping families.

Quotes attributable to Member for Bellarine Alison Marchant

“This Budget will make a real difference to families. Our $400 School Saving Bonus will help cover the costs of kids’ uniforms and activities – giving families one less thing to worry about.”

“This Budget backs regional tourism and local jobs by investing in better transport links to the Bellarine Peninsula – including the Portarlington ferry service.”

“The Farm My School project is an investment in our students and our future. This funding will help young people at Bellarine Secondary College gain vital skills, all while nourishing and connecting our community.”