Vic Budget Funding Tackles Disability, Homelessness & Disadvantage
5 May 2015 at 4:50 pm
The State Budget by the newly elected Labor Government in Victoria has announced increased funding for disability and homeless services and commitments aimed at tackling poverty and disadvantage.
The Victorian Labor Government says it will provide what it describes as the biggest increase in a State Government Budget since 2008-09 for Individual Support Packages (ISPs) for people with disabilities.
The Budget will provide $151 million for an additional 830 ISPs to enable families to get the support and respite to help young people with disabilities transitioning from school.
The Andrews Government said this would contribute to the Labor Government’s commitment of $2.5 billion for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The Budget also includes continuing funding of $40.3 million for seven Homelessness Innovation Action Projects across the state which will assist 2000 people experiencing homelessness.
A further $7.5 million has been allocated to provide an immediate boost to agencies supporting women and children fleeing family violence who are at high risk of homelessness.
This includes funding for existing agencies through the Housing Establishment Fund and the statewide family violence crisis service, Safe Steps, which runs a 24/7 hotline with practical advice and help for women fleeing family violence.
The Labor Government says it will also deliver on its commitment to stop the sell-off of public aged care beds proposed by the previous Liberal Government.
“After years of cuts to social services by the Liberals including $470 million in Housing alone, our first Budget is targeted to help those Victorians most in need, with a mixture of increased resources, practical investment and innovative responses to the challenges of disadvantage,” Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Martin Foley said.
The Victorian Council Of Social Service, VCOSS said the state budget contained a number of positive measures aimed at improving education, child protection, employment, public transport and reducing family violence.
“This budget is a good first step by the Andrews Government to create a solid foundation for vulnerable Victorian families and communities, and opens the way to further investment to build a Victoria without poverty over future budgets,” CEO of VCOSS, Emma King said.
“VCOSS welcomes the certainty for funding for community sector organisations in this year’s Budget. The Government has contributed $935 million towards the mandated Equal Remuneration Order (ERO).
“The Government has agreed to work with VCOSS on future years’ indexation as part of ongoing service agreement discussions, and has also agreed to work with VCOSS to monitor ERO implementation.
“We also note that there will be further cost pressures on the community sector particularly as a result of the National Minimum wage order, which is on top of the ERO. We note that indexation has been provided on the same basis as the previous 3-year funding and service agreement.
“The budget contains important initiatives to keep young people engaged in education and training.
“VCOSS is pleased to see new initiatives which will help families meet spiralling school costs and help ensure children and young people do not miss out on educational opportunities.
“Today’s budget is a good start and a positive first step for the Victorian Government in delivering on key election promises aimed at supporting vulnerable Victorian families. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government so that future budgets build further on this, supporting people to overcome disadvantage and become part of strong, cohesive, self-reliant communities, and working to build a Victoria without poverty.”
The Victorian Budget also provides an extra $117.8 million for mental health, including $88.2 million to provide 80 adults and up to 500 older people with the intensive, specialist support.
Welfare Not for Profit, the Brotherhood of St Laurence said the Budget contains welcome initiatives that meet election commitments.
“But the heavy lifting to address our state’s education, skills and employment challenges cannot be achieved in one budget. This requires sustained work that must be met over several budgets,” Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Tony Nicholson said.
“Our state’s future prospects rise and fall on its investment in human capital, that is the talents and capabilities of all its people. Lifting the education, skills and work readiness of the Victorians who are currently unable to take up the opportunities of our rapidly changing modern economy has to be an ongoing task.
“It cannot be said enough, the engine room of equity resides in the provision of education and skills for our youth so they can fully participate in the economy as well as broader community life,” Nicholson said.