And Labor’s re-election means Daniel Andrews has the green light to continue his big infrastructure build.
But what else can Victorians expect from 2019?
Some TAFE courses will be free
From the start of 2019, the State Government will cover the cost of 30 TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses.
Included in the list of “priority courses” the Government will pick up the tab on are:
- Ageing Support
- Dental Assisting
- Community Services
- Mental Health
Obviously there are some caveats — you have to be Australian or a New Zealander and be aged under 20, upskilling, unemployed or looking to change careers.
Commuter prices will go up (but not by much)
Public transport’s going to get more expensive in Melbourne.
From January 1, fares will rise by 2.2 per cent for metropolitan travellers, thanks to annual fare adjustments.
In good news for students, you’ll no longer need to buy special-issue concession cards — you can just use approved school ID cards.
Regional commuters can also stick with their 2018 budget as fares will stay the same on country services, with the Government capping prices.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) says it’s the lowest fare rise since 2014 — you can check out the full list of fare prices on their website.
If you’re a CityLink commuter, a quarterly price rise is going to cost you between one and four cents extra per trip from January 1.
AFL will look a bit different
Football’s about the closest thing this city has to an official religion, so it’s worth noting that there’ll be a swag of rule changes once the men’s season recommences in March.
While we won’t see the proposed introduction of an 18-metre goal square, the 6-6-6 rule will be implemented. It means teams will have six players in each of their defensive and forward arcs, and six in the midfield at each centre bounce.
A player will no longer need to kick to himself to play on from the goal square, while the man on the mark will be positioned 10 metres back at kick-ins rather than five metres.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you whether it’ll also be more expensive to go to the footy, because the AFL isn’t releasing its seat pricing information until early 2019.
Euthanasia will become legal
This is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation passed by Daniel Andrews’ first-term government, but after more than 100 hours of debate, both houses approved the plan for Australia’s first assisted dying laws.
Under the legislation, Victorians with a terminal illness will be able to obtain a lethal drug within 10 days of asking to die, after completing a three-step process involving two independent medical assessments.
But there are strict conditions:
- The patient must be over the age of 18, of sound mind and have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months
- The patient must be suffering in a way that “cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable”
- The patient must self-administer the drug, but a doctor can deliver the lethal dose if someone is physically unable to end their own life
The legislation includes 68 safeguards, including new criminal offences to protect vulnerable people from abuse and coercion, and a special board to review all cases
Passed in November 2017, the law is due to come into effect in mid-2019, as legislators gave clinicians 18 months to prepare for all the changes it will bring.
Some commuters will get big new ‘smoother, quieter’ trains
Melbourne’s inner-city rail network is getting a huge overhaul, but the new Melbourne Metro isn’t due for completion until 2025.
In the meantime, commuters can expect some relatively minor upgrades around the network and the introduction of 65 new next-generation trains next year.
The Government promises the new trains will be “smoother, quieter, more comfortable and carry 20 per cent more passengers”.
They’re scheduled to hit the tracks around the middle of the year, so if you ride the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines, or you’re a train enthusiast, you can judge for yourself then.
The State Library of Victoria’s makeover will be revealed
Victoria’s state library has been undergoing an $88-million renovation since 2017, which is due to be completed in spring next year.
The makeover will open up 40 per cent more space for the public, including three new reading rooms.
The oldest part of the library, the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, will be reopened for the first time in a decade.
The Russell Street entrance will be reopened after 15 years.
Plastic bags will be banned
From late next year, the whole state is slated follow the major supermarkets and go plastic bag free, when a Government ban on single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags will come into place.
According to the Government, the ban will apply to all plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness, like those commonly used at supermarket checkouts.
The Government said it decided to introduce the ban after received thousands of submissions during a plastic pollution consultation.
More than 96 per cent of submissions supported a ban, the Government said.
Less gridlock on Hoddle Street
If you’re one of 330,000 people who brave the Hoddle Street commute every day, that part of your day will hopefully be a little smoother before we hit 2020.
Slated for completion by year’s end, the Streamlining Hoddle Street project promises new 24-hour clearway zones, longer periods of green lights and a dedicated bus lane.
Construction was delayed last year when a small amount of asbestos was found, but Victoria’s Major Road Projects Authority is still projecting it’ll be finished by late 2019.
Beyond next year…
You might remember the Government promised pet-friendly rentals and other reforms aimed at giving tenants more rights.
Those changes will be rolled out in stages, but many are not likely to come into effect until 2020.
Meanwhile, there’s some major infrastructure projects in the works, so expect 2019 to bring more delays on the road and rail networks.
As previously mentioned, the Metro Tunnel isn’t due to be finished until 2025, while the West Gate Tunnel is scheduled for completion in 2022.
If art is what interests you, Melbourne is set to be home to the country’s largest art gallery by 2025.
The new NGV Contemporary will be part of Southbank’s significant revamp, which will also include lots more green space — one of eight new parks to open by 2021 according to Melbourne City Council.
The council claims that’s the year the city will have two MCGs’ worth of new parkland, with new green spaces to open in Melbourne, Southbank, Carlton, Docklands and West Melbourne.