Voices of Victoria

The 2022 VCOSS Listening Tour had a simple mission: to engage people in a setting where they felt comfortable and empowered to talk about issues that affect them, and then to listen.

We wanted to learn about people’s lived experiences coming out of the “COVID years” and aspirations. We were conscious not to be prescriptive; not to steer people to the issues we thought they should care about.

What has emerged from this genuine community-led approach is a textured understanding of Victorians’ fears and hopes as they emerge from the worst of the COVID pandemic.

The process has also provided valuable insights into the kinds of assistance people most want and need, to help them lead a good life now and into the future.

This report details the feedback we received from 12 diverse communities across the state.

We have analysed the contributions of the more than 200 people consulted face-to-face and online and grouped their views thematically according to geographic location, cohort and age.

What did we hear?

Participants expressed feelings of disconnection, loneliness and isolation.

People were frustrated with the difficulties and barriers in accessing government services.

Concerns about the ‘digital divide’, about access to decent food and about the rising costs of living also featured heavily.

These challenges were compounded, people told us, by an overwhelming sense of exhaustion after the hard years of 2020 and 2021. A phrase volunteered more than once was, “I’m over it”.

But this report doesn’t just enumerate challenges; it also proposes solutions.

We have combined the insights of community members with the expertise of VCOSS policy analysts to develop four recommendations for change.

VCOSS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country. We pay respect to Elders both past and present, and to emerging leaders. Our offices are located on the sovereign, unceded land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.