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Vic: First home buyers handouts up, water bills rise

By 2012 fees for diplomas and advanced diplomas will rise from the fixed maximum of $877 a year to up to $2,500.
28 Jun 2009 3:47 PM

MELBOURNE, June 28 AAP - Victorians buying their first home will be eligible for up to $36,500 in state and federal government grants from Wednesday.

But they will be slugged more for water when they move in under changes coming into effect in the new financial year.

>From July 1 the Victorian first home buyers bonus will double for buyers purchasing a newly constructed house.

Those buying in regional areas will get $15,500, up from $8,000.

New home buyers purchasing in Melbourne are eligible for $11,000, up from $5,000.

The handout is on top of the $21,000 first home buyers grant, which has been extended until September.

All up buyers of new homes outside Melbourne will receive $36,500, while their Melbourne counterparts will be eligible for $32,000.

Only first home buyers purchasing an existing home will be worse off. Under the changes they will get $2,000, down from $3,000.

This is in addition to the $14,000 federal grant.

The first home buyers bonus will be available for at least another year after it was extended in the state budget.

Victorian Treasurer John Lenders said the scheme would help stave off the impact of the global recession by stimulating investment and jobs.

"The Brumby Labor government is making it easier than ever before for Victorians to buy a home and raise a family," he said.

"This increase will also help to create jobs, stimulate the economy and help lessen the effects of the global financial crisis."

As housing affordability increases for some, so too will the cost of water.

Melbourne water bills are set to rise by between 51 per cent and 64 per cent from Wednesday under four-year price rises approved by the Essential Services Commission.

The increases will add more than $300 to the average annual bill by 2012 to pay for billions of dollars worth of drought-busting water projects.

To assist with the extra cost burden, water subsidies and other concessions for low income earners will increase.

>From July 1, the cap on the 50 per cent water concession will increase by 14 per cent, from $189.70 to $216.60.

Fees and fines will be automatically indexed at three per cent.

>From Wednesday all government school grounds will become smoke free and some TAFE students will be hit with higher fees under the new vocational training scheme.

The scheme will scrap course caps, giving every Victorian who wants to study access to subsidised training but most students will have to pay more.