VCOSS MEDIA RELEASE
Victoria’s peak social advocacy body has welcomed the 2019 Victorian Budget, which largely delivers the policy platform Labor took to the state election.
Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King said:
“Labor was swept back into office promising a progressive suite of social policies. It’s wonderful these pledges are now in black-and-white within the budget books.”
“Money can now start flowing for big-ticket items like three-year-old kinder, free kids’ dental care and the construction of 1,000 new public housing dwellings.”
“These are significant programs that will make life better for Victorians.”
But despite setting a positive tone for Labor’s second term, Ms King said it’s disappointing the budget wastes money on an unwarranted mega prison.
“The budget blows almost $2 billion on a mega prison that won’t reduce crime or make us safer,” Ms King said.
“Think of what else we could do with that $2 billion dollars?”
“For two billion dollars, we could have built tens of thousands of social housing units to fight homelessness.”
“Or we could have given desperately needed funding to frontline mental health services in advance of the Royal Commission.”
“Instead, we’re wasting it on a prison.”
Ms King said other positive measures funded in today’s budget include:
- $98million for seven new early parenting centres to help new parents
- $2.8million for ‘earn as you learn’ apprenticeships in disability, family violence, aged care and mental health workplaces
- $3million to support the mental and physical health of asylum seekers
- Measures to support the Treaty process and Aboriginal self-determination.
While the budget didn’t renew funding for the critical Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund for school kids from families experiencing financial difficulty, VCOSS expects money will be allocated following further discussions with the Commonwealth.