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Voting for a Victoria without poverty

As Victoria heads to the polls VCOSS will examine the policies and positions of the major parties according to how they address growing poverty and disadvantage within our community. Through daily blog posts, analysis of policy announcements, coverage of election events, and the latest news from across the community sector, we will keep Victorians up to date on where the parties stand on the issues that matter.

The 2014 Victorian election will be a debate about the type of community we want to live in. Do Victorians want to live in a community that looks after its most vulnerable people, or do we want them left further behind?

In Victoria today more than one million people live near or below the poverty line. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Our schools are becoming more unequal, more children are being taken into child protection, homelessness is rising, and our prison population is exploding.

Family violence has justifiably become one of the major issues being discussed in the lead up to the poll, with rising reports of violence against women and children prompting strong demand from the community for action.

And with unemployment at decades’ highs, we need concerted action on improving workforce participation and a focus on job creation.

These and other profound challenges facing Victoria require targeted responses and the investment of dedicated resources. Most importantly we need to see evidence-based policies that address the causes rather than the consequences of disadvantage in our community.

In launching our top-twelve State election priorities in May this year, VCOSS called on all sides of politics to use it as a social policy roadmap to improve the lives all Victorians and begin to build a Victoria without poverty.

Since then we’ve seen major announcements like the State Government commitment to significantly increase spending on addressing family violence and the promise from the Opposition to better support disadvantaged students to ensure all children can participate in the opportunities that school has to offer.

Such announcements are welcome, but we need to see more and we need to see detail.

Importantly we need candidates and parties to outline their vision for a Victoria without poverty, and how to go about building it. This will require bringing the community together to focus on how we create a fairer community with greater opportunity for all Victorians.

This is the challenge that whoever forms government in December will face. We will hold all Victorian politicians to account on how well they meet this challenge over the life of the next Parliament.

More info and analysis

 VCOSS Election site