Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Budget 2023 ‘a fair deal’ for all says Victorian Premier

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews said the State Government is “doing what matters” to build a fairer, more equal state for every Victorian.

The Premier said Budget 2023/24 invests in landmark Treaty and truth processes, alongside targeted support for child protection services, women, veterans, public housing residents, LGBTIQ+ communities and multicultural Victorians.

“In the biggest single investment in care services in a decade, we’ll put more than $535 million towards giving children in residential care the support they need – with a safe and secure place to call home and specialised care for their social and emotional wellbeing,” said Mr Andrews.

“On top of this investment, we’re providing $140 million to improve outcomes for First Nations children. Aboriginal people know the unique needs of their communities best and this funding will help Aboriginal-led organisations provide vital child protection services and support to keep families together.

“As the first jurisdiction in Australia to embrace and action all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – Voice, Treaty and Truth – the Labor Government has led the way in providing justice for Aboriginal people.”

But, he said, the gaps in outcomes for First Nations Victorians still remain too wide, and there’s more work to be done.

“We’ve led the nation to deliver on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, but our work doesn’t stop there – we’re making sure our Treaty processes have the resources to deliver meaningful change by First Peoples, for First Peoples,” said Minister for Treaty and First Peoples, Gabrielle Williams.

The Government has pledged $138 million over four years to support Treaty negotiations, to commence later this year.

“That includes $82 million to support the independent First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria as the voice of First Peoples in the Treaty process,” said Premier Andrews.

“We promised we’d end period poverty in Victoria, removing the stigma too often attached to periods, and making sure period products are available for women and girls whenever they need.”

On top of stocking the products in all government schools, a $23 million initiative will soon provide free pads and tampons to women and girls in up to 700 public places across Victoria.

“Building on the work we’ve done through Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence, we’ll provide another $77 million for the critical support victim-survivors deserve.”

This includes more than $25 million for Aboriginal frontline family violence services, as well as $32 million for family violence case management, accommodation support, sexual assault support services and men’s behaviour change programs.

“To ensure more vulnerable Victorians have a roof over their head, we’ll invest $134 million to provide access to critical housing and homelessness support across the state,” said Mr Andrews.

$3 million will assist youth homelessness support services such as Village 21, Holmesglen Education First Youth Foyer and Kids Under Cover, as well as $4 million for five programs dedicated to women.

“We’ll also make sure residents in high-rise public housing towers are comfortable year-round, with a $141 million investment to deliver air-conditioning to these buildings,” he said.

To honour the sacrifices veterans have made for Victoria, the Premier also announced $36.6 million in funding to introduce a Veterans Card.

“The first of its kind in Australia, the card is a way to thank veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service, helping them with cost of living pressures by offering discounts on fees like vehicle registration,” he said.

Minister for Veterans and Youth, Natalie Suleyman said the Veterans Card Victoria will support veterans with the cost-of-living expenses and represents a token of the State’s gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

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