Dignity, safety and fairness – once in a generation Budget

“The 2020/21 Victorian State Budget is a once in a generation budget. It promotes dignity, safety and fairness for Victorian children, young people, families and their carers.”

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) CEO Deb Tsorbaris warmly welcomed the monumental budget. “The 2020/21 Victorian State Budget is ‘Putting People First’, it firmly puts children, young people, and their families and carers front and centre as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

The $1.1billion budget spend on child, young people, families and their carers includes:

  • fully funding the Home Stretch program that supports out-of-home care leavers up to the age of 21 years to stay with their kinship or foster families, or transition to independent living arrangements 
  • support for earlier intervention through family service to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families
  • the construction of two and three bedroom units to better meet the needs of young people in residential care
  • establishing ‘Care Hubs’ to provide wrap-around support for children, young people and sibling groups entering out-of-home care to give greater sense of security and promote reunification with their families
  • $230m to continue the implementation of the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations.

“Our sector will be particularly excited by the continued investment in family services meaning children and families can get the support and services they need and workers’ jobs are secure, which is critically important as we recovery from COVID-19” Tsorbaris noted.

Tsorbaris welcomed the very significant investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families, communities and organisations and continued support for self-determination. This investment includes funding established Aboriginal-led family support teams, helping address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care, and continuing the Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder program.

Extraordinary levels of investment can also be seen across diverse government portfolios including support for refugee and asylum seeker families to access playgroups and kindergarten and a record $5.3 billion social housing build. Families doing it tough have been given particular attention throughout the budget with $250 voucher systems for energy bills, and additional funding to support students in school activities such as camps, sports, outdoor education programs, and excursions. In keeping with the theme of fairness, the Victorian Government has launched a new funding and support model for school students with disability, a transport program for students with disabilities and an Inclusive Schools Fund.

“As a whole, is unprecedented in its size and scale and seeks to build a Victoria that is fairer, more equitable, the 2020/21 Victorian State Budget looks after the people, communities, and organisations that provide support across the state” Tsorbaris said.

“The Centre welcomes the 2020/21 Victorian State Budget’s acknowledgement that there is no health without mental health, and although the Mental Health Royal Commission is not due to report until next year, there is record spending to support young people who’ve been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic,” Tsorbaris said.

Dignity, safety and fairness – once in a generation 2020/21 Victorian State Budget. The Centre commends the Victorian Government for its demonstrated commitment to supporting children, young people, their families and carers and will provide a more detailed analysis in the coming day.

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