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2017 Victorian Budget Analysis

2017 Victorian Budget Analysis

The VCOSS policy team has been busy analysing the 2017 Victorian Budget in detail.

Please browse this page for summaries of initiatives in key policy areas.

Click on the subject headings to read more, or use the buttons below to explore other forms of analysis.

Community sector and social cohesion

The 2017 Victorian Budget contains a range of welcome initiatives aimed at promoting social cohesion.

“An investment-focused approach … would be a ground-breaking contribution to building a Victorian community that was safe, equitable and compassionate.”

Key initiatives

  • Aboriginal treaty negotiations
    $28.4m over four years to consult and negotiate a treaty with Aboriginal Victorians.
  • An LGBTI inclusive Victoria
    $2m over two years for a suite of initiatives to promote an LGBTI inclusive Victoria that celebrates diversity and promotes the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Victorians.
  • Multicultural policy statement
    $19m over three years for the implementation of the multicultural policy statement, Victorian. And proud of it.
  • Community sector indexation
    There has been no change announced to community sector indexation, which will continue to be 2.0% for 2017-18.

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Housing and homelessness

This budget largely funds the Victorian Government’s Homes for Victorians policy, announced in February 2017, including expanded social housing and stamp duty concessions for first home buyers. The unprecedented investment in family violence also includes additional funding for social housing and crisis accommodation.

“…a solid State Budget which shows a genuine commitment to tackling homelessness. But we can’t end homelessness in one budget cycle…”Key initiatives

  • Social housing growth fund
    The Victorian government will invest $1 billion into a perpetual housing fund, spending the interest received on social housing projects.
  • Improved crisis accommodation options
    $83.1 million over four years to transition 13 family violence refuges to individual crisis accommodation by 2020, plus build two new Aboriginal family violence refuges and commence operation of two youth refuges.

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Family violence

The Victorian Government has invested $1.9 billion in the budget for family violence initiatives, to respond to the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations. This welcome and landmark investment will address family violence across a range of areas; from prevention to early intervention and support for victims and perpetrators.

“…focus on immediate needs supported by a long term vision is the pathway we need to ensure women and children get the support required to stay safe and recover from family violence.”

Key initiatives

  • Support and Safety Hubs for family violence survivors
    $448m to establish 17 hubs across Victoria, providing a central point for information, triage and access to services, and for children’s development and wellbeing.
  • Specialist support for survivors and supporting recovery
    $270.8m over four years for flexible support packages, counselling and therapy, and financial counselling services for family violence survivors.
  • Specialist family violence courts
    $130.3m to operate five specialist family violence courts, include redesigns, upgrades and additional support workers.
  • Family violence prevention strategy and agency
    $50.8m over four years for a dedicated family violence prevention agency, and implementing the family violence prevention strategy.


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The 2017 Victorian Budget includes welcome investment to improve learning and educational outcomes for children and young people, including substantial infrastructure funding and initiatives aimed at addressing disadvantage.

“(The Budget acknowledges) quality early learning benefits all children - and children from vulnerable or disadvantaged families and communities even more so.”

Key initiatives

  • High quality learning and development for three and four-year-olds
    $4.3m ($87.1m over four years) to help improve the educational outcomes of children facing disadvantage enrolled in three and four-year-old kindergarten.
  • Addressing underperformance in schools
    $12m ($50.7m over four years) to improve the capability of teachers and principals in 350 poor performing schools.
  • English as an Additional Language
    $10.5m ($19.5m over two years) to provide newly arrived students with targeted support to develop their English language proficiency, to meet growing demand.
  • School and early childhood development facilities
    $254.2m ($685m over five years) to build new and update existing school facilities. This includes $10m to plan and build early childhood development facilities co-located at new primary schools.

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Health and wellbeing

The 2017 Victorian Budget includes funding for clinical mental health services, including additional inpatient, community and weekend care. A new mental health care facility will be built in Ballarat, along with funding for mental health and alcohol and other drug facility upgrades across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne. There is also a focus on forensic mental health support services to better support people in the justice system.

“This announcement sets in train the necessary expansion of the AOD sector to address the

Key initiatives

  • Clinical mental health services
    $46.9m in 2017-18 for almost 580 additional inpatient services and around 75,000 hours of community care; and $2.2m in 2017-18 for medical and allied staff in acute mental health settings over weekends. This is part of a four-year funding package of almost $200m and includes Commonwealth funding under the National Health Reform Agreement.
  • Cancer screening and prevention
    $3.7m in 2017-18 to build on the state’s screening and detection of preventable cancers.
  • Access to alcohol and other drug services
    $4.4m in 2017-18 for earlier access to alcohol and other drug services, and expanded treatment support for people at risk of overdose. A further $14.2m over four years for an additional 34 Aboriginal alcohol and other drug worker positions to be created in collaboration with the Aboriginal community.
  • Alcohol and other drug rehabilitation services
    $7.5m as part of a four-year funding package of $34.4m to establish 30 new residential rehabilitation beds in existing services. Increased counselling and treatment services for parents under new family reunification requirements and an additional 960 places for people to receive treatment under their Community Corrections Orders.
  • Aboriginal mental health
    $8.4m over three years for 10 positions in Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations to provide primary wellbeing and mental health response to Aboriginal Victorians, as well as the establishment of an Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Training Program.

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Children and families

The 2017 Victorian Budget provides some new child protection initiatives. New announcements include funding for additional child protection workers and earlier intervention for vulnerable families. There has been a welcome increase in supports for young people to move from residential care, and the budget also commits to enhanced supports for adults who grew up in care.

"It's terrific to see a government that is continuing to build what we hope will be a world-class child protection and child welfare response here in Victoria.”

Key initiatives

  • Children in statutory child protection
    $72.2m for 450 additional child protection workers and expansion of after-hours services. This amount also includes extending the trial to move Aboriginal children and young people case managed by mainstream agencies into Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).
  • Children in out-of-home care
    $59.6m for 100 additional Targeted Care Packages to provide support and accommodation to assist young people to leave residential care.
  • Early intervention with families experiencing challenges
    $29.2m for early intervention supports for an additional 1200 families to receive intensive support.
  • Support for adults who grew up in care
    $2m for the management and settlement of historic abuse claims. This is an interim measure pending the development of a formal redress scheme. A further $2m over two years for Open Place to provide brokerage for care leavers in financial stress and for CLAN to provide advocacy and support for adults with a care experience.

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Skills, training and employment

The 2017 Victorian Budget includes welcome initiatives to stimulate employment growth in localities facing disadvantage and for workers facing redundancy. Measures include funding to support workers to transition to new jobs in the Latrobe Valley and funding for social enterprise development that will benefit vulnerable Victorians.

YACVicKey initiatives

  • Job creation
    $90m over two years to attract private sector investment and job creation in Victoria in priority industries and in communities experiencing high levels of disadvantage.
  • Supporting workers transition to new jobs
    $4m over two years for workers in the Latrobe Valley for career planning, development, job search assistance and digital literacy for workers. A further $4.6m over four years to support retrenched workers across Victoria.
  • Support for apprentices
    $8.2m over two years for apprentice support officers to provide assistance to young first-year apprentices.
  • Creating jobs through social enterprises
    $6m over four years to support the development of social enterprises that build the capacity of Victorians facing disadvantage.

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Disability, older people and carers

The 2017 Victorian Budget includes some modest positive initiatives to help improve the lives of people with disability, including measures to improve access to disability supports, help prevent and respond to abuse, and prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

CarersVic_quoteKey initiatives

  • More support for young people with disability
    $9.7m ($19.9m over two years) to provide support to 256 young people with disabilities in advance of the NDIS.
  • Transition to the NDIS
    $20.9m ($36.2m over three years) to help participants and service providers prepare for the NDIS and to support its implementation.
  • Strengthening oversight to reduce abuse in disability services
    $3m ($8.7m over three years) to strengthen safeguards to prevent and respond to abuse of people with disability prior to the rollout of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.
  • Implementation of the Australian Disability Parking Scheme
    $6m in capital funding to implement the Australian Disability Parking Scheme in Victoria. This includes creating a centralised database of permits, electronic assessment tools and automatic application processes.

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Cost of living

The 2017 Victorian Budget includes some welcome measures to help low-income households with the cost of rising energy bills. VCOSS also supports the funding for an independent energy broker pilot, an initiative VCOSS has called for in the energy retail markets review.

“Financial assistance for low-income households to have access to more efficient housing and appliances will take a big load off people struggling with their bills.”

Key initiatives

  • Subsidised energy efficiency upgrades for low income households
    $26.2m ($88.8m over four years) for low income households to assist with the cost of energy efficiency upgrades and expanded access to the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (discounted energy saving products scheme). Renewable energy development and large-scale energy storage initiatives are also included in this $88.8m.
  • Getting a better energy deal through the Energy Compare website
    $6.1m ($10.7m over two years) to promote and upgrade the Energy Compare website, which allows customers to search for better energy deals.
  • Independent energy broker pilot
    Departmental funding allocated for delivery of a pilot independent energy brokerage service for consumers facing hardship and culturally and linguistically diverse consumers.
  • Family violence financial counselling
    $1.5m ($6m over four years) for 10 specialist financial counsellors for family violence victims across Victoria.

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VCOSS welcomes the establishment of the Fast Track Remand Court, helping to resolve cases faster for young people on remand. Other positive initiatives include additional funding for legal services for low income people, and mental health services for young people at risk of offending and those in the court or corrections systems.

"(We are) particularly pleased to see budgetary support of programs aimed at tackling the causes of crime, rather than only dealing with its consequences.”

Key initiatives

  • Forensic mental health implementation plan
    $83.1m for services including a specialist clinical model for young people in detention, a forensic youth mental health service for young people at risk of offending, and an additional Children’s Court Mental Health Court Liaison Officer.
  • Legal services for people on low incomes
    $7.2m ($15m over two years) to Victoria Legal Aid to maintain access to legal services and meet demand arising from the Youth Diversion Program and the new Youth Control Orders and Intensive Monitoring and Control Bail Supervision Scheme. $5.2m ($14.5m over four years) in additional funding for community legal services. 
  • Fast Track Remand Court
    $3.4m for the continuation of the Fast Track Remand Court for Children’s Court criminal proceedings, following a trial in 2016.
  • Rehabilitation and reintegration programs
    $5.4m ($41.1m over four years) for expanded alcohol and drug treatment programs in prison and post-release support services.

The Government has also announced:

  • New youth justice facility
    $288.7m for a new high-security youth justice facility to replace the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct.
  • Additional funding for existing youth justice facilities
    $72m for the Parkville and Malmsbury youth justice facilities and the continued operation of the youth justice centre at Barwon Prison.

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“…the treasurer is intending to return to the debt markets in a long-anticipated move to boost capital spending when interest rates are so low and the state’s credit rating is so high.”The Victorian Government’s budget is projected to achieve a substantial surplus of $1.2b in 2017-18. This is a result of strong revenue growth, especially land transfer duty (stamp duty) and payroll tax. Revenue is expected to exceed growth in spending over the next four years.

Key initiatives

  • Stamp duty cuts for first home buyers
    Stamp duty for first home buyers will be lowered, including no stamp duty for houses under $600,000 and a concession rate for houses between $600,000 and $750,000.
  • Vacant property tax
    The Victorian Government will introduce a vacant residential property tax of 1.0%, expected to raise $10m in 2017-18.

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The Victorian Government is investing heavily in major transport infrastructure projects. Apart from making all-night public transport on weekends permanent, there is only modest investment in additional services.

“…(regional) communities often have poor services and public transport and very limited job opportunities. The new budget initiatives pave the way for more investment."Key initiatives

  • Mordialloc Bypass
    $300m to build the Mordialloc bypass, connecting the Mornington Peninsula Freeway to the Dingley Bypass.
  • North-East Link
    $100m to undertake initial planning work to connect the Eastern Freeway with the M80 Ring Road, including determining a route and undertaking design work.
  • E-class trams
    $215.5m to purchase an additional 10 E-class trams and additional tram infrastructure.
  • Gippsland Rail upgrade
    $435m to upgrade the Gippsland rail line for greater frequency, reliability, punctuality and safety.
  • Disability Parking and Public Transport Accessibility
    The budget includes $6m to create a centralised Victorian disability parking scheme, and $11.3m for accessibility upgrades for Oakleigh station and a new accessible Middle Park tram stop.

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