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Jail costs soar as welfare services struggle . . .

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Jail costs soar as welfare services struggle to meet demand

30 January 2015  |  

Victoria’s prison population and the cost of keeping prisoners in custody is spiralling out of control according to the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) following the release of a report today by the Productivity Commission. VCOSS is concerned the State Government is now spending more than $1 billion a year on Corrections Victoria at the same time as homelessness, family violence and family support services are struggling to meet growing demand. VCOSS CEO Emma King said our prison population has grown more than 40% over the last decade. “People who commit crimes usually have ... Read More

Published under Advocacy, Children, Community sector, Indigenous, Justice, Justice, State Politics

Broad terms of reference are a good start for Family Violence Royal Commission

19 January 2015  |  

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) welcomes the release of the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Family Violence. “Family violence is a society-wide problem that needs a whole-of-community and whole-of-government response,” said Emma King, VCOSS CEO. “Violence against women by their partners is the biggest contributor to ill health, disability and death in Victorian women aged 15–44. It is also one of the leading causes of homelessness, poverty and disadvantage, and is a factor in more than half of all cases where children are removed from their families in ... Read More

Cost-of-living increases to hit vulnerable people

30 December 2014  |  

Cost-of-living increases will hit vulnerable Victorians hard in 2015, VCOSS CEO Emma King says. Emma King says with many household costs increasing, vulnerable people already struggling to cover the costs of living will now have to stretch low incomes further to make ends meet. “There are more than 1 million people living in poverty in Victoria and community organisations are already facing overwhelming demand for their support services,” Emma King said. “Costs-of-living increases will add to the pressure these people and community organisations are facing.” Victorian household costs ... Read More

Published under Advocacy, cost of living, Emergency relief, Energy and Water, Essential Services

Victoria leads nation in energy disconnections

18 December 2014  |  

New data from the Essential Services Commission shows Victorians are being disconnected from their energy supply at record levels, and we now lead the nation in the number of people cut off from electricity and gas, warns the Victorian Council of Social Service. “These figures show that more people are experiencing financial difficulty due to energy hardship and must prompt action from retailers and the government to improve safeguards to ensure disconnection from the supply of this essential service remains the measure of last resort,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS. “More than 34,000 people ... Read More

Published under Energy and Water

New Cabinet for a fairer Victoria without poverty

4 December 2014  |  

The new Ministerial team announced by Premier Daniel Andrews today has an historic opportunity to build a fairer Victoria without poverty, says the Victorian Council of Social Service. “The new Victorian Cabinet includes several Ministries that show this Government is serious about addressing inequality and disadvantage by focusing on some of the critical social issues our community faces,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS. “The strong and diverse Cabinet announced today presents an historic moment for Victoria. It is particularly pleasing to see so many women in strong and prominent roles at ... Read More

Published under State Politics, Victorian state election

Report finds income inequality to worsen under Federal Budget

4 December 2014  |  

Inequality and poverty will worsen under the Abbott Government’s Budget, warns a new report from the Australian Senate. The report by the Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee, Bridging our growing divide: inequality in Australia, finds the harsh approach of the Federal Budget will push more people into poverty and disadvantage and calls for many of its more punitive measures to be abandoned. “This report is further evidence that the Federal Government has taken the wrong approach in seeking to make budget savings at the expense of supporting our most vulnerable people,” said ... Read More

Published under Budget, Federal Budget

Support Victorians to manage rising energy costs

2 December 2014  |  

Gas and electricity prices are predicted to increase significantly next year and low-income households will need support and protection in order to cope with the rising costs, says the Victorian Council of Social Service. “Energy costs are projected to increase by up to 10 per cent over 2015 – a $250 increase for a typical household – and threaten to push many low-income, high-energy-use households right to the brink,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS. “Already in Victoria we’ve seen significant increases in the number of people experiencing energy hardship and this will only increase as energy ... Read More

Published under Energy and Water

Labor wins an opportunity to build a fairer Victoria

30 November 2014  |  

VCOSS today congratulated the ALP on its election as the new Victorian government, saying it presents a chance to begin building a fairer, more inclusive Victoria without poverty. “During the election campaign, Daniel Andrews and his team announced many policies that could help build a more equal society in Victoria,” said Emma King, VCOSS CEO. “In particular, their announcements around education, healthcare, family violence, public transport, and promoting the strength and diversity of community sector organisations are welcome.” “Victoria’s unemployment crisis requires immediate action ... Read More

Published under Victorian state election

VCOSS to launch plan for tackling unemployment

21 November 2014  |  

Tackling unemployment: Towards a workforce participation plan for all Victorians WHEN:        10:00am Today Friday 21 November 2014 WHERE:      West Footscray Neighbourhood House, Lvl 1, 539 Barkly St, West Footscray WHO:           Community sector leaders and workers, young people who are unemployed, and people who have been supported into work through the assistance of community service organisations Join VCOSS as we launch our vision for a workforce participation plan that connects Victoria’s vulnerable people with the skills and jobs they need. When there are not enough jobs for ... Read More

Published under Victorian state election, Workforce participation

School welfare officers, employment incentives welcome but kinder money should be better targeted

10 November 2014  |  

An initiative to boost school welfare officers announced by the Victorian Coalition is welcome but a $100 rebate on kindergarten fees should be better targeted towards people on low incomes who most need support, says the Victorian Council of Social Service. “Primary welfare officers have an important role in ensuring young students have appropriate support and increasing coverage to all government primary schools is a welcome initiative,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS. “The $100, non-means tested kindergarten rebate will be welcomed by many Victorian families with young children, yet the ... Read More

Published under Children, Education, Victorian state election