A centrepiece of the 2017/18 Victorian State Budget is a focus on developing skills and jobs for the future. There is welcome investment to support the community services sector, part of the fastest growing industry in the state. There are a projected 70,000 new jobs in health and social assistance in the next five years, and the Victorian government has invested in TAFE training to meet this rapid growth.
Fee-free TAFE training courses in selected health and community services courses, plus additional TAFE funding, will help build the community services workforce. Other areas of employment growth such as infrastructure will also benefit from this focus on TAFE.
There will also be additional assistance to job seekers facing barriers to employment including in major projects.
- Fee-free TAFE training for Victorians
This year’s budget includes free training for Victorians in 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses in preparation for rapid jobs growth in expanding industries. Priority courses in the community services sector include community services, disability, mental health, individual support and ageing.
Cost: $24.2m in 2018/19 ($171.9m /4yrs)
- Extended investment in TAFE and training
Additional funding to create 30,000 new training places is included in the budget. This will ensure more people are able to enrol in training courses in the government’s priority areas, including family violence, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and infrastructure. It also extends the funding for the Asylum Seekers VET Program.
Cost: $180.9m in 2018/19 ($303.8/2yrs)
- Social procurement
The budget announced the Government’s intention to increase employment through its procurement processes, including in infrastructure and broader procurement procedures. Government agencies will be able to use their buying power to deliver socially beneficial and sustainable outcomes for all Victorians including purchasing from social enterprises. There is a focus on regional Victoria and disadvantaged Victorians.
Cost: $3.4m in 2018/19 ($5.0m/2yrs)
- Connecting to employment in major projects
The Government announced additional funding for Jobs Victoria for new, dedicated services to help young people from Aboriginal and migrant communities and women get jobs on Victoria’s major projects.
Cost: $3.0m in 2018/19 ($6.0/2yrs)
- Employment opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers
Jobs Victoria will also receive funding for specialised employment support programs for long-term unemployed young people and young people facing significant barriers to employment.
Cost: $12.5m ($15.0m/2yrs)
- Portable long service leave schemes
Funding has been included in this year’s budget to establish a portable long service leave scheme for community service workers, cleaners and security guards. The scheme will allow employees to receive long service leave entitlements if they change employers but remain in the same industry.
Cost: $0.4m in 2018/19 ($7.8m/4yrs)
- Additional funding for social infrastructure in Melbourne’s growing suburbs
The Government announced additional funding for one year to the Growing Suburbs Fund. The Growing Suburbs Fund supports community infrastructure priorities that improve the amenity, liveability and resilience of rapidly growing outer suburban communities, to support connections, enhance services and provide local jobs.
Cost $50.0m in 2018-19 (one year only)
Future policy directions
- Funding to pay additional costs incurred by community services
As costs increase over and above the rate of indexation, community service organisations will continue to face financial pressure. Costs increase over and above the indexation rate due to wage cost rises resulting from the national minimum wage decision. VCOSS is currently engaged in discussions regarding indexation with government. We will advise members of any updates as soon as possible.
Additional costs associated with the proposed portable long service leave scheme will also need to be covered by the government.