The Victorian budget tackles family violence and transport but fails badly in other areas, according to Catholic Social Services Victoria.
In a comprehensive media statement, CSSV executive director Denis Fitzgerald said the budget provided additional funding to respond to family violence and police numbers, but did little to address the underlying causes of crime in the state.
The following is an excerpt from the statement:
Annual government budgets are very complex documents, which both reflect and influence developments in the society that the government is elected to serve. So it is with Victoria’s budget which Treasurer Tim Pallas brought down yesterday, which provides for the provision of $62 billion in goods and services in 2017/18, and capital expenditure of $10bn a year over the next four years.
A strong economy and increasing house prices, resulting in continued growth in Victorian government revenues, has underpinned significant additional budget funding on responding to family violence, transport infrastructure and police numbers. Promotion of infrastructure and services across the state was a major theme.
Substantial initiatives over the past year by the Andrews government have addressed entrenched disadvantage and vulnerability in the community, including in child and family services, family violence and social housing and homelessness.
Some very helpful initiatives notwithstanding, this budget did not seize the opportunity to continue this focus on disadvantage and need. Nor did it venture as boldly in addressing the underlying causes of crime as it did in funding high profile increases in police numbers and capability. The 2018 pre-election budget will be the next major opportunity to redress this.
As with any budget there are lots of unknowns, and lots of uncertainties. There are many areas where further investment is badly needed: increasing investment in public housing; place-based investment focus in areas of entrenched disadvantage; adequate investment in palliative care services, for example.