Victorian Budget a ‘Mixed Bag’ for Families – VCOSS
Tuesday, 1st May 2012 at 5:23 pm
Victoria’s Budget has been described as a mixed bag which includes some smart decisions to invest in proven programs for vulnerable and abused children and young people, according to welfare umbrella organisation,VCOSS.
The Liberal Coalition Budget was handed down in the Victorian Parliament today by State Treasurer Kim Wells.
Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) CEO,Cath Smith, says however, there is too little investment in critical services, such as public transport for families moving into new fringe suburbs or growing regional cities.’
‘The budget includes some wasteful spending – with $690 million for new prison capacity that would be better spent on crime prevention – sitting alongside cuts to education and skills, community health and social housing – all critical for developing strong communities and a strong future economy.’
‘Investments were also made in alcohol and drug programs, including supports for young people, in mental health programs for women with children, and in homelessness support for families.
‘Funding for an Independent Children and Young Person’s Commissioner, including a specific Commissioner for Aboriginal children and young people.’
‘Confirmation of full funding of the state government component of the Fair Work Australia equal pay case for 2012 and 2013, and indexation on the wages component of community service funding. However, zero indexation on non-wage costs will impact on community services struggling to pay escalating petrol, rent and utility bills.’
The absence of new investment in public transport services, with a single bus service to Monash University the only bus initiative, and the innovations fund in Transport Connections cut.
Halving of the Education Maintenance Allowance and abolishing the School Start Bonus – both payments which assist families with the high costs of education.
No capital investment for Aboriginal Health or to resource partnerships between Aboriginal community controlled health services and mainstream services.
TheVictorian Government has moved to keep the budget surplus at $155 million while promising to spend nearly $6 billion.
It will spend $364 million for hospitals and aged care, as well as $57 million for emergency services, including $22 million to boost communications including Triple Zero.
The Budget Papers can be found at http://www.budget.vic.gov.au/budget.html