A State of Wellbeing

2020 Victorian Budget Submission


Economic prosperity alone is no longer a good measure of community wellbeing—if it ever was.

Victoria needs a new way to conceptualise, pursue and measure progress. We need to proudly and loudly articulate our overarching social goals, and match these bold aspirations with concrete targets, timeframes and accountabilities.

This will be achieved by Victoria becoming a wellbeing economy.

Making this leap would require traditional budget processes and the machinery of government itself to evolve to put pursuit of wellbeing at the centre of all decisions.

Adopting this wellbeing lens would create a framework for departments and ministers to make funding bids for programs that achieve this greater goal. It would allow the government to group together otherwise disparate programs and initiatives. Most importantly, becoming a wellbeing economy would provide the framework for Victoria to measure the success of policies, and make changes where necessary.

Growing Victorians’ sense of wellbeing will take time. But with the right policies in place to ensure every Victorian gets a great education, has a safe place to call home, works a rewarding job, can afford the basics and has the necessary support to stay healthy, change is possible.

Our 2020 Victorian Budget Submission makes the case for a shift to a wellbeing economy, and lists dozens of positive policies that would help Victorians live a better life.

Internationally, there is growing focus on how to improve community wellbeing through the sustainable growth and distribution of financial, social, human, and environmental capital.

Victoria is perfectly placed to lead this conversation here in Australia.

Download A State of Wellbeing (PDF)

Priority recommendations


  • Urgently boost funding to frontline mental health
    Mental health services can’t wait until after the Royal Commission for funding relief. An immediate boost is needed to keep services running properly and supporting Victorians in need over the coming year.


  • Stop stealth funding cuts to community organisations
    Not indexing funding for community organisations means support is shrinking in real terms. We must fix this decline, so vulnerable Victorians don’t miss out on the care they need.


  • End the damaging funding ‘drip-feed’ to service providers
    Multi-year funding deals for social service organisations will provide financial certainty, allowing them to deliver better support to more people over the long term.


  • Progress self-determination for Aboriginal Victorians
    Ensure Treaty and moves towards self-determination are led by Aboriginal people, and take the remaining practical steps that are necessary to support these reforms.



  • Make homes safe and liveable for low-income Victorians
    This involves mandating and enforcing meaningful energy efficiency standards for rental properties and investing more money into energy-related home upgrades.


  • Close service gaps for people with disability
    Buck passing between the NDIS and other systems must stop. We need to improve how disability services connect and collaborate with health, education, justice, housing and out-of-home care.


  • Continue the pivot to crime prevention
    Build on recent advances to shift Victoria’s justice approach towards crime prevention. This would involve identifying and funding new opportunities for offender diversion and restorative justice projects.


  • Make public education genuinely affordable
    Victorians’ first-hand experience of sending their kids to a government school is that a public education isn’t truly free. Make it so. Fund schools to the proper limit so all hidden costs can be abolished.


  • If a young person is in state care, look after them until they’re 21
    Keeping Victorians in state care for three more years, until their 21st birthday, will make them more likely to lead a safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling life.


  • Support communities to confront climate change
    Community organisations are on the frontline of climate change, helping communities adapt, prepare and weather the storm. Give them the tools and support they need to do the job properly.



Please contact VCOSS by phone 9235 1000 or email for an accessible version of this document