Mitchell Shire responds with concern to Victorian State Budget

Mitchell Shire Council has expressed disappointment over this week’s Victorian State Budget, citing that Mitchell has been left behind in comparison to other growth areas across the State.

Of most concern were the cuts to the funding streams that growth area councils have relied on for the timely delivery of essential infrastructure.

“The significant reduction in funding for the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF), from $50 million two years ago to just $5 million this year, leaves Mitchell in a precarious position,” Mayor Cr Louise Bannister said.

“Once covering almost 50 per cent of new community infrastructure costs, this budget significantly reduces that contribution, is shared amongst 10 Councils.

“This fund has been crucial to supporting infrastructure delivery across the Shire and in particular the growth areas, and these cuts will impact Mitchell the most, as we are the last emerging growth area in Victoria.”

The State Government’s budget includes:

Funding cuts to growth area infrastructure

  • The drastic reduction of the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) significantly limits Council’s ability to meet the infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing community
  • The Local Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSIF), crucial to sporting infrastructure projects, faces an uncertain future due to significant cuts in its funding stream

Lack of new investments in Mitchell

  • Despite the urgent need for new roads and health facilities in Mitchell, no new major investments have been allocated
  • Schools and education
  • Construction funding for Wallan East Primary School was confirmed under the new schools funding package
  • Wandong Primary School will receive $10.1 million for upgrades
  • Upgrade funding for Beveridge Primary School has been continued

Best Start Best Life reforms delayed

  • The five-year delay in completing the Best Start Best Life reforms pushes completion to 2036/37. This delay may hinder funding availability for new kindergartens

Watson Street Interchange

  • The Watson Street interchange remains funded

Kilmore Bypass delay

  • The Kilmore Bypass project has been delayed yet again, now pushed to quarter 4, 2025/26
  • Funding remains about the same at $35.3 million, with $2 million more added for planning. The majority of this funding will go toward a roundabout at Wandong Road

Cr Bannister acknowledged the challenges facing the State Government, stating: “We understand that the Victorian Government is in a challenging financial position, with multiple priorities and constraints to consider. However, it’s disappointing there’s no new funding for much-needed road upgrades in our shire.

“For Mitchell, this budget presents a worrying outlook. As we embark on a journey of growth, infrastructure and grant funding is slowing.

“It’s good to see that Wallan East Primary School was confirmed for construction, however as Victoria’s fastest growing municipality we will need to see continued investments in new Primary and Secondary schools over coming years.

“To deliver on our community’s vision, the State Government needs to recognise the critical importance of investment in Mitchell. While we are disappointed in this budget, we will continue fighting for fair funding and advocate for our community’s future.”

/Public Release. View in full here.