VCOSS MEDIA RELEASE
The 2018 Victorian Budget presents a pathway to a better and fairer Victoria, the Victorian Council of Social Service said.
The budget has a significant focus on education, getting young people ‘job ready’ and helping people retrain for new and emerging professions.
“Growing our state means growing opportunity for our children, through stronger schools, better job pathways and genuine employment opportunities,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“This budget does that.”
Ms King said VCOSS had been advocating for fee waivers to help train Victorians ahead of rapid jobs growth in the social care sector.
“What we got was a whole lot more,” Ms King said, referring to;
- A promise of free TAFE training for Victorians in 30 ‘priority courses’ (including community services, disability, mental health, personal care and ageing),
- A new Head Start program so teenagers can complete an apprenticeship or traineeship while finishing high school,
- An extension of the Navigator and Lookout program to keep kids engaged in education, and
- More careers counsellors in government schools to advise on job opportunities
“These measures will keep kids engaged in education and help propel them into real jobs.”
“They will also help build the high-quality workforce needed to support and empower Victorians in need.”
Other positive initiatives in today’s budget include:
- Extra funding for Neighbourhood Houses, to build community resilience and combat social isolation,
- Investment in engaging with Aboriginal communities and pursuing self-determination,
- A funding boost for clinical mental health and drug & alcohol services,
- Targeted relief for people facing acute energy hardship,
- New support for people who have been unemployed for a significant period of time,
- More support for kids in state care until their 21st birthday (extending a trial program in Gippsland and Melbourne’s south-east), and
- Additional money to prevent family violence, support gender equality and implement the recommendations from the Family Violence Royal Commission.
Ms King said the budget comes six months before the state election, and VCOSS would expect further social policy announcements in the months ahead.
“We’ll be looking for more detail on the government’s plans to cut the cost of living for all Victorians, including making housing and essential services more affordable.”
“VCOSS will continue to push for new funding and initiatives to ensure every Victorian can lead a good life,” she said.