How does the 2022-23 Victorian Budget Affect You?
YACVic welcomes the 2022-23 Victorian Budget, which saw the Victorian Government make major investments in health, mental health and education, but is disappointed by the lack of targeted investments for programs and initiatives that support young people and the youth sector.
The last two years have challenged young people in unprecedented ways, affecting their mental health and wellbeing, education and employment, and ability to engage in their communities. Young people have shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic, and made significant sacrifices in their lives to keep the community safe.
YACVic urges the Victorian Government to consider the significant role the youth sector plays in supporting young people to engage with education, employment and civic participation, as well as providing tailored support in areas such as mental health, youth justice and housing.
This budget also fails to build on the steps taken in the 2021-22 Victorian Budget to act on climate change, an issue young people are passionate about and will affect them severely in the future.
This budget analysis identifies the key spending in the budget targeted at young people and the youth sector.
The Victorian government is investing significantly in the education sector, with $3.5 billion being spent overall to upgrade and build new schools, and improve education outcomes for students. This funding includes $716 million in school programs and support for the teaching workforce.
- $34 million over four years to introduce the new VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate, championing vocational and applied learning pathways, and improving the quality of these courses.
- $69.3 million over four years for the Head Start apprenticeships and traineeships program, a school-based model to support students’ early entry into vocational pathways.
- A significant boost in funding has been provided to enhance the Navigator Program, extending the program to include 10- and 11-year-olds and extending it to include more students aged 12-17. $6.7 million in 2022-23, $11.1 million in 2023-24, $11.4 million in 2024-25 and an additional $7.7 million in 2025-26.
- Funding has been provided over the next three years to support The Geelong Project, Northern Centre for Excellence in School Engagement, and Project REAL to continue providing services to students in their respective regions. Government has provided $600,000 in the first year, $2.3 million in 2023-24 and a further $1.5 million in 2024-25.
- $1 million per year over four years has been provided for the free TAFE program to be expanded to include the Diploma of AUSLAN and Advanced Diploma of Interpreting (AUSLAN).
- $5.6 million in 2022-23, $9.3 million in 2023-24, $9.4 million in 2024-25, and $6 million in 2025-26 to improve education outcomes for young people involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the youth justice system.
- $9 million in 2022-23, $12.5 million in 2023-24, $9.9 million in 2024-25, and $10 million in 2025-26 to sustain student mental health services for schools. This will include the continuation of the LOOKOUT program to support engagement with young people who need extra support.
- The Victorian Government has also made a welcome commitment to include Auslan in the free TAFE course list, a move designed to increase the number of Auslan interpreters in Victoria.
YACVic welcomes this budget's investment in student wellbeing and the continuation and expansion of the Navigator Program.
The Victorian Government is providing further funding for the ongoing Youth Life4Life program. Funding has also been made available to provide support to young people with eating disorders.
- $340,000 in 2022-23 for Youth Live4Life. This investment is in response to the Royal Commission on Victoria's Mental Health System.
- $12 million to be invested in supporting families whose infants, children or young people are accessing acute mental health care in regional Victoria.
- Additional investment in workforce capacity, including new allied health and nursing graduate roles, postgrad scholarships, and a boost to clinical and psychiatric workers.
- $20 million to support young people with eating disorders. This investment includes 15 mental health beds specifically for young people with eating disorders. The funding will also support the Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders, and the new Victoria Eating Disorder Strategy which aims to strengthen early intervention and prevention for young people experiencing eating disorders.
- Investment in an Earn and Learn pilot for system navigation and wellbeing support roles.
YACVic welcomes and commends the continued investment in mental health, though is disappointed to see no recognition of youth workers’ important contribution as part of the mental health workforce.
Youth workers play an essential role in early intervention and ongoing support for young people dealing with mental ill-health, especially in rural and regional areas.
YACVic calls on the Victorian government to include investment in trained, professional youth workers as part of its strategy to achieve long-term mental health solutions for young people.
The Victorian Government has invested in strengthening workforce protections for casual and gig workers, while also investing in initiatives specifically for young people.
- $138.2 million in 2022-23 and a further $80 million in 2023-24 for the Sick Pay Guarantee. This two-year pilot will provide up to 5 days per year of sick or carer’s leave at the national minimum wage for all casual and contract workers in eligible occupations across priority industries.
- $600,00 in 2022-23, and $700,000 in 2023-24 to subsidise accreditation for more than 2000 young people in the sport and recreation industry, enabling them to gain employment in this sector.
- A one-off investment of $7.5 million to the LaTrobe Valley Authority for the Ladder Step-Up program, which provides employment support for young people.
- A one-off investment of $6 million to the Wage Inspectorate Victoria, to continue their compliance, enforcement and education activities, ensuring workers are protected from wage theft.
With thousands of young Victorians still looking for secure work, YACVic welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to protecting workers from exploitation by funding wage-theft laws and supporting job creation for young people in sports and recreation.
While this is a good step, YACVic continues to call on the Victorian Government to commit to a Youth Jobs Guarantee which focuses on creating traineeships, apprenticeships, and jobs for all young people, with an emphasis on sustainable and meaningful employment.
The Victorian Government has shown they are aware of the need for funding for those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Ongoing support for services in both prevention and crisis support are welcomed, however the amount being invested is not enough to meet needs and make a substantial difference to young people.
- $821.1 million in 2022-23 overall for housing assistance for low-income families, older people, singles and young people. However, this is not enough to meet the current or projected future needs of young people, especially those facing housing instability or homelessness.
- $9.4 million over two years has been provided to sustain support and improve housing outcomes for Victorians, which includes funding for the continuation of the Holmesglen Education First Youth Foyer.
Young people are in desperate need of targeted and specific action to address the ongoing and systemic issues they face to accessing safe and secure housing. More investment in prevention and crisis intervention is needed, as well as integrated and ongoing support to ensure young people are getting access to the services they need.
- $4.8 million in 2022-23 and $4.3 million in 2023-24 to improve the safety of children and young people in out-of-home care by introducing safety checks for adult household members in kinship care placements, improving cross jurisdiction information sharing, and enhancing service delivery and security for children and young people in secure care facilities.
YACVic recognises the need for increased safety and programs in the out-of-home-care sector for young people. We encourage Government to ensure these programs are co-designed with young people to ensure they meet their needs and are responding to situations appropriately.
The Victorian Government has continued investment in existing prevention and diversion youth justice programs, ensuring continuity of service for young people.
- $4.5 million in 2022-23 is being directed into youth-specific crime prevention programs, to extend existing programs to young people at-risk of becoming involved in the youth justice system.
- $5 million in 2022-23 and $6 million in 2023-24 into youth-specific diversion programs, including the expansion of the central after-hours assessment and bail service, an after-hours Children’s Court service, and additional Aboriginal youth justice hubs.
- A one-off payment of $1 million to enable vulnerable Victorians the opportunity to apply for a reduced COVID fine.
YACVic recognises the Victorian Government’s investment in improving outcomes for young people currently involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the justice system. The Victorian Government’s focus on diversion is a crucial step, but more needs to be done on prevention and early intervention, and to address the systemic factors impacting on young people coming into contact with the justice system.
The Victorian Government has committed to $55.3 million to support the creative industry, including:
- $35.4 million in 2022-23 to support the Creative Industries Portfolio Agencies Recovery Funding.
- $2.4 million in 2022-23 to fund the Go West festivals to support Victorian festivals to present and commission work from artists in Melbourne’s West, in particular those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- $1.2 million over two years to celebrate diversity through the South Asian Film Making fund, local film-makers can participate in a short film competition and mentorship program.
- $3.0 million over two years to fund creative spaces and places. This will provide affordable creative industry spaces, strengthen existing community spaces through infrastructure projects, and support jobs for local creatives.
- $0.8 million in 2022-23 and $0.7 million in 2023-24 to provide funding for Music Industry Growth Package. This package supports music events for regional communities.
- $17.5 million in 2022-23 for the Creative Infrastructure Program. This includes upgrades to Theatre Works and Community and Arts Centres. Helping young Victorians have access to facilities that are accessible, creative, and engaging.
YACVic recognises the efforts to enhance creative outcomes for Victorians, especially creatives who have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19. This is highlighted in the strong investment into the Creative Industries Portfolio Agencies Recovery Funding.
The Victorian Government has made welcome commitments to provide new opportunities and upskilling for regional and rural artists and music workers. The Music Industry Growth Package (see below) will deliver strong support and provide funding to ensure payment of appropriate music and licensing fees and maximising revenue for Victorian artists and music rightsholders are equitable. YACVic looks forward to these initiatives actively engaging and supporting young people to be active in creative endeavours.
Rural and Regional
The 2022-23 state budget has committed to making educational, health, and creative investments in rural and regional areas, with a focus on students.
- $5.2 million in 2022-23 and $5.7 million in 2023-24 to “build equity and excellence for rural and regional students”. This funding will give students access to a broader curriculum, including a blended learning hub, occupational health and safety support, and establish partnerships between clusters of rural and regional schools.
- $21.9 million in 2022-23 and $19.3 million in 2023-24 to attract more teachers to rural and regional areas. This will also support a new Go Rural Education program pilot to facilitate pre-service teachers to undertake placements at rural and regional schools.
- A Regional Health Infrastructure Fund has been established to improve rural and regional health services.
- $75 million in 2022-23, $75 million in 2023-24, $800,000 in 2022-23 and $700,000 in 2023/34 to provide funding to the Music Industry Growth Package this will support music events for the benefit of regional communities, providing new opportunities and upskilling for regional and rural artists and music workers.
YACVic welcomes this initiative to attract quality teachers to rural and regional schools, to help improve educational outcomes for students. We note however that this focus excludes supports for young people who are not engaged in educational settings, and those who have to move away from rural and regional areas to attain higher education.
YACVic is also pleased to see the Victorian Government investing in the music industry in ways that create new job opportunities and upskilling for rural and regional young people.
It is important to note that there is minimal funding announced for the youth and community sectors in rural and regional communities, where youth workers make such an important impact in short and long-term outcomes for young people.
- $14.6 million in 2022-23 and $500,000 in 2023-24 for the Victorian State Disability Plan.
- $16.5 million in 2022-23 and $19.4 million in 2023-24 to support disabled Victorians who aren’t eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
- $30.7 million for the Students with Disabilities Transport program in 2022-2023, which enables disabled students to get to and from school.
- $400,000 to identify improvements required across the TAFE network to ensure disabled young people can access training and skills.
While these new initiatives are welcome, there is still much work to be done to address the ongoing and systemic issues faced by disabled young people. The focus on students also means that those young people who are not engaged in education are likely to miss out on services that they would otherwise benefit from, such as the transport program.
- $600,000 over two years to the Koorie Youth Council for broader capacity
- $1.2 million in 2023/23 for early intervention initiatives for Bramung Jaarn and Djirra to deliver tailored programs to Aboriginal young men and women respectively.
As well as these youth-specific initiatives and ongoing core funding for the Koorie Youth Council, initiatives have been funded that will benefit young Aboriginal young people:
- $151.4 million over four years to progress the Treaty process)
- $$2.9 million over four years to create a Cert IV in Teaching a First Nation’s Language, and increasing the number of Aboriginal language teachers in schools.
- $5.8 million over two years to prepare the education system for self-determination.
The government has committed to investing $11.6 million in LGBTIQA+ Victorians over the next four years. Funding is provided to implement the whole-of-government LGBTIQ+ Strategy, supporting initiatives that are aimed at strengthening the health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes of LGBTIQA+ Victorians. The funding includes:
- The continuation of the LGBTIQA+ Grants Program
- Pride Events and Festivals Funds
- Specialist LGBTIQA+ legal services
- The Trans and Gender Diverse in Community Health Program
- Trial of Safe Spaces for LGBTIQA+ young people in Western Victoria, including referral services and greater access to medical and emotional supports.
- Design of new LGBTIQA+ suicide aftercare services.
YACVic welcomes the investment for LGBTIQA+ young people, which is particularly needed for mental health support and opportunities to connect and engage with their communities. We encourage further investment in programs and events to increase social cohesion.
YACVic acknowledges the investment in targeted suicide prevention as a positive step; however we also note that significantly more is needed in targeted prevention and appropriate after care services for LGBTIQA+ young people, who have significantly higher incidence of mental ill-health than their peers. Youth services and youth workers could play an important role in this work, if funded.
The trial of Safe Spaces in Western Victoria is an important step and YACVic would like to see this program co-designed and co-delivered with young people to ensure it meets the needs of young people.
Disaster and Climate Change
$411.1 million in 2022-23 was announced to fund fire and emergency management, with a specific focus on fire protection and prevention. This includes aerial firefighting, bushfire prevention and protection, critical capital works to keep Victorians safe from fire and other emergencies, emergency access to roads and trails, and securing Victoria’s energy supply.
This is a positive step for young people to be secure in their homes and towns and hopefully to prevent future disasters. YACVic recognises the need for funding and investment in disaster prevention and management, especially following the Black Summer fires of 2019/2020.
There are no significant announcements on climate change action.
Young people are calling for climate action and systemic change to address climate issues. YACVic encourages the Victorian Government to implement effective and ethical climate action by involving young people in initiatives and decision-making.
Unfortunately, there was no significant funding for youth workers or the youth sector in the lead up to the release of the whole-of-government Youth Strategy.
Funding is provided to continue the Empower Youth Program providing early intervention case management in key communities, and support for young people to engage in Scouts or Girl Guides.
YACVic urges the government to provide more funding towards the Youth Strategy, and invest further in generalist youth services across the state.
This summary was written by the YACVic Policy Team. If you have any questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.