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Building a budget that shares the State’s prosperity

 

Media Release 9 November 2017

Building a budget that shares the State’s prosperity

Catholic Social Services Victoria has identified priority areas for further investment in the 2018-19 Victorian Budget, in a submission made to the Treasurer and Government on 17 October 2017.

Victoria’s strong economy provides an opportunity to invest in services that help to build a community that is safe, equitable and compassionate; where all Victorians share in the State’s prosperity. 

Recent investment to address family violence in the community was welcomed.  The next budget is an opportunity to build on this, through a holistic approach where housing stability and safety, economic participation, justice issues and support services for families and children are addressed collaboratively. 

The future resourcing of community mental health services should be assured and strengthened to ensure the implementation of NDIS operates collaboratively with the broader health system and other service sectors that support people with mental illness.

Aboriginal Victorians continue to experience a greater level of disadvantage compared with non-indigenous Australians. Sustained and focused effort is needed to reduce the level of disadvantage and strengthen Aboriginal families and communities.

The loss of some traditional industries in regional and rural communities has impacted the availability and security of jobs. Greater planning and investment is needed to ensure sufficient affordable housing options are available, access to support services is improved, educational opportunities and pathways to further training exist, and employment opportunities are created.

Catholic Social Services Victoria continues to urge the Government to implement a justice reinvestment approach with an emphasis on alternatives to prison, increased resources for rehabilitation and reintegration into society, and developing services addressing social issues that help reduce offending behaviour. For young people, this requires additional expenditure on prevention and early intervention approaches as well as rehabilitation and reintegration programs. 

Many refugee and asylum seeker families and individuals, as well as recently arrived communities generally, face challenges in relation to housing, education, health services and opportunities for employment. Further investment is needed to support these communities to settle well in Australia.

Many areas of reform are impacting on agencies’ capacity and capability to deliver services which are already stretched. Over the past few years, indexation on State Government funded programs has not kept up with wage and CPI increases. Funding for the sustainability of community service organisations needs to be maintained and strengthened.

Substantial initiatives over the past year by the Andrews’ Government have addressed some entrenched disadvantage and vulnerability in the community. These very helpful initiatives notwithstanding, greater investment is needed and the 2018 pre-election budget is the next major opportunity to redress this. A copy of the submission and a summary list of the recommendations can be found at: https://www.css.org.au/Portals/51/Victorian%20Budget%20submission%20for%202018%20-%20final.pdf

 

Denis Fitzgerald

Executive Director

9 November 2017.





 
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