Experts from RMIT University are available to talk to media about a range of topics and issues relating to the 2018-19 Victorian State Budget.
Transport and infrastructure
Professor Jago Dodson 0415 554 889 or email@example.com
Topics/research interests: infrastructure, transport, housing and metropolitan planning
‘‘The budget perpetuates an ad-hoc, piecemeal approach to transport spending, despite the relevant act requiring the government to plan major transport infrastructure in a joined up, coordinated way.
‘‘This reactive, short-term approach will likely impose long term costs on Melbourne’s travel and the city’s liveability.
‘‘The regional rail funding for infrastructure and services is welcome, but further thought needs to go into integrating economic development initiatives with faster regional travel. There is surprisingly limited evidence of a positive economic impact from regional rail, given the scale of investment.
‘‘The $3.3 billion spent on roads means money is not available for desperately-needed public transport in underserviced growth areas. Suburban road users will continue to face congestion and long travel times accessing employment and services without new public transport investment and services.
‘‘The decision to proceed with the North East Link is disappointing, given its questionable cost-benefit ratio.’’
Professor Jago Dodson is Director at the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University. He has an extensive record of research into housing, transport, urban planning, infrastructure, energy and urban governance problems. He has contributed extensively to scholarly and public debates about Australian cities and has advised national and international agencies on urban policy questions.
Dr Ian Woodcock 0413 044 080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics /research interests: transport, especially metropolitan transport, planning, urban design
‘‘It's clear that there is very little that is actually new in the transport area, and some disappointing slowdowns on public transport.
‘‘A lot is being made of things that are only in the early planning stages … such as fast rail to Geelong, a rail link to the airport and light rail from Caulfield to Monash and Rowville. These things are good to have, but, in the face of the fastest growing population in Australia, not nearly enough.
‘‘As the forecasts show, while Victoria has spent up big recently, this will begin to tail off in the next two to five years. Given that our population growth is not projected to slow, and current plans to upgrade public transport will not meet forecast demand, there is still much more work to be done.’’
Dr Ian Woodcock convenes the Planning and Transport in City Regions Program in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT and is an associate lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. He has researched land use and transport integration for more than a decade. He is regularly asked to provide expert comment, particularly around Melbourne’s transport needs.
Politics, social affairs policy
Topics/research interests: social affairs policy
‘‘The theme of this budget is spend, spend, spend.
‘‘Treasurer Pallas has been able to spend like there is no tomorrow, while still delivering a string of big surpluses that show he can mind the till.
‘‘The biggest winners are health and social services ($1.5 billion), economic development ($790 million) and education ($670 million). Within these areas, hospitals have done very well in the form of funds to reduce wait times and also treat more patients in priority areas. Mental health spending is really little more than $80 million, which is welcome, but not the massive increase the government suggests.
‘‘In economic development, road maintenance is the big winner, while, in education, the TAFEs do really well, although there are some welcome funds for primary and secondary schools.
‘‘The eye-popping bit is in the capital budget. The government has managed to crank up its infrastructure spend from a little under $6 billion when they won office to more than $13 billion next year. That translates to a list of new schools, bridges, roads, mental health facilities and all sorts of other structures that is as long as your arm.
‘‘This is a budget any treasurer would have loved to deliver. And, better still, there are no real chinks in the armour that surrounds it.’’
Professor David Hayward attended yesterday’s State Budget lock up. Hayward is economist and Director of the VCOSS-RMIT Future Social Service Institute. He was previously the Dean of the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies between 2009 and 2016. He has undertaken extensive research around the funding of social services and social policy and is a regular media commentator on state politics and budgets.
Law and order, social affairs policy
Dr Kathryn Daley 0412 168 361 or email@example.com
Topics/research interests: crime, youth crime, prisons, sexual abuse, substance abuse, drug testing, rehab, supervised injecting facilities, homelessness and welfare reform
‘‘There is a record amount being spent on infrastructure, but none on social housing. With population growth, this means that the percentage of Victorian housing that is social housing will actually reduce at the same time that there is an increase in the number of people who are homeless.
‘‘Many of those who complete the free TAFE programs will transition to low-paid employment, providing little to no alleviation to housing stress or cost-of-living.
‘‘There are aims to reduce youth offending and secondary school dropout by improving education pathways such as the 30 fully-funded TAFE courses. However, there is no investment into issues such as inter-generational disadvantage and poverty, particularly housing and employment for the most marginalised in our community.
‘‘There’s no funding to increase the length of state care for vulnerable young people from 18 years old to 21, despite the significant campaigning from the sector, or to improve the often problematic outcomes for them when they do leave.’’
Dr Kathryn Daley is a lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. Daley has a particular research interest in how crime, drugs and disadvantage impact young people. She has written a book on youth and substance abuse and helps inform public debate through expert media comment.
Innovation and jobs
Dr Alan Montague 0433 982 055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics/research interests: labour hire, the future of work, skills and skill shortages, wages, apprenticeships
‘‘Energy is a glaring omission in the State Budget. We know it is getting more expensive and we know it is a growing industry for jobs.
‘‘One option could have been a trial of photovoltaic panels, where home and business owners borrowed money and invested in panels at a low interest rate (two per cent) to harvest free electricity for government schools, hospitals and public transport.
‘‘The electricity could also be extended to batteries in the home for heating houses and water when the sun doesn’t shine. This would reduce the reliance on gas and participants could donate excess electricity to the state.
‘‘This kind of initiative could create thousands of jobs for people to install and maintain panels, reduce the need to build another coal-fired power station and help position Victoria as an innovation state.’’
Dr Alan Montague is the program director in the Masters of Human Resources in the School of Management. Montague has more than 30 years of experience in the employment, training and education sectors, including as a senior Federal Government manager and academic. He regularly provides expert media comment about the ever changing world of work, including apprenticeships and traineeships.
For general media inquiries, please contact the RMIT External Communications team on 0439 704 077 or email@example.com.