In a bid to manage COVID debt, this year’s Victorian Government state budget has unsurprisingly been another year of constraint.

We are pleased to see most youth sector services retain funding, but there’s little investment in new programs or services. Short-term funding cycles continue.

While there’s no significant new investment in family violence, the government has indicated more announcements in the coming weeks. We are hopeful this will include specific investment for young-victim survivors of family and gender-based violence.

In the context of a worsening housing, mental health, and cost-of-living crisis, we are disappointed to see:

  • Slower implementation of the remaining recommendations from the Mental Health Royal Commission – including no funding to build the new 500 supported housing places promised for young people experiencing ill mental health and homelessness.
  • No funding for a Victorian youth housing and homelessness strategy.  
  • The early conclusion of the Sick Pay Guarantee.

There are some positives:

  • Investment in healthcare and education. We are interested to see how this supports our rural and regional communities, particularly with concerns hospital mergers will impact on access.
  • Extended funding for the Supporting Young People to Understand Affirmative Consent Program – meaning a win for YACVic’s project Yeah Nah.

How does the budget affect you? Find out here.

Housing and homelessness

This budget failed to fund the government’s promise of 500 supported housing places for young people for young people living with mental health illness and housing instability or homelessness. This was recommended in the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Victoria’s policy response to housing and homelessness continues to fail young people. Young people aged 12-25 are 25% of people experiencing homelessness. In our worsening housing and cost-of-living crisis, with more demand for services, this number continues to grow.

To end youth homelessness, we need a Victorian Youth Housing and Homelessness Strategy to support young people into safe, secure housing – including 5000 youth-specific social housing properties over the next four years to meet demand.

In this budget we see:

  • $196.9m over four years invested in housing and homelessness support, including:
    • $45.4 million over five years to expand the Journey to Social Inclusion program.
    • $38.5 million to establish a four-year competitive grants process from 2025-26 for homelessness services, to ensure homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring.
  • $16.7m over four years to modernise the delivery of public housing maintenance.
  • $6.8m over three years for the Rental Stress Support Package.
    • Funding for organisations to support renters in When people struggle to pay rent. This can lead to people living in homes that aren't comfortable or safe. rental stress with information and legal assistance.
  • $700m in 2024-25 to expand the Victorian Homebuyer Fund.
  • $63.3m over four years for the Housing Statement building reforms. This includes building 800,000 homes over the next decade.

We welcome the 12-month funding for Pride in Place and Homelessness After Hours statewide services. But these do not fully address rising housing need and the scale of youth housing instability and homelessness.

See what the housing sector says about the budget.

Mental health

This budget provides much-needed investment in eating disorders with $25.6m over four years for treatment and support.

Further investments to support young people’s mental health includes:

  • $10.2m over five years for A service patients can temporarily live at while they’re getting treatment. bed-based services.
  • $3.8m in 2024-25 for suicide prevention initiatives.
  • $16m over four years for new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) beds.

We are pleased to see funding of $6.4m in 2024-25 to continue Orygen’s Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) program.

We also see continued investment in important mental health initiatives, including:

  • $2.8m in 2024-25 for community and mental health wellbeing programs.
  • $4.4m in 2024-25 invested in Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs.
  • $6.1m in 2024-26 to progress the mental health and wellbeing reform program.
  • $10m in 2024-25 for the Mental Health Capital Renewal Fund to improve the quality and amenity of mental health and AOD facilities across Victoria.

We welcome $15.8m over three years to deliver a new mental health graduate program in our Local Services, to help build the health sector workforce.

However, we need more funding to support young people balancing unpaid placements and study commitments during a cost-of-living crisis. Investing now in training our health workforce will bolster the long-term roll-out of health reforms.

Along with many others across the sector we are deeply disappointed to see no investment in key Royal Commission recommendations, including:

Immediate funding is needed to implement the remaining recommendations before the 2026 deadline, prioritising funding for an evaluation of Victoria’s reform implementation process.

See what the mental health sector says about the budget.

Cost of living

The government announced some welcome measures to alleviate rising pressures on families and those experiencing food insecurity:

  • $287m over 4 years for a Victorian School Saving Bonus. Once-off $400 payment to parents with children at state schools, and concession card holders at non-government schools, to spend on school costs.
  • $3.5m in 2024-25 to support food relief organisations – including six Regional Food Relief Hubs.
  • $1.1m in 2024-25 in food relief to support tenants in high-rise social housing.

It’s disappointing to see young people left out of vital cost-of-living support. Usually working casual insecure jobs with lower wages and no savings, young people are facing increased financial pressure.

The budget does little to curb rising rents, utility expenses and food prices for young people. The early conclusion of the Sick Pay Guarantee is another step backward for young people’s financial security.

Youth sector

We are pleased to see most youth sector services retain their funding. In particular, the very welcome news that La Trobe Youth Space in Gippsland has received three years funding after tireless advocacy to keep it’s doors open.

But, short term funding cycles continue – impacting ongoing workforce contract insecurity. Stable contracts would allow the youth sector to better support young people, attract and retain staff, and invest in long-term, sustainable planning to fully implement the Victorian Government’s reforms and activities.

Unfortunately, there is no additional funding tied to the roll-out of the government’s youth strategy.

We are also disappointed in the government’s announcement to end the Empower Youth Grants program – providing essential identifying and providing effective early support to young people who are at risk of poor outcomesearly intervention support to young people, particularly for young people in rural and regional areas.

Rural and regional

It’s disappointing the drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation service andtech school promised for Warrnambool before the 2022 state election have not been funded.

There are some specific investments to note:

  • $6m over five years to expand curriculum access for rural and regional students.
  • $11.1m for locally-driven projects across regional Victoria, supporting students to engage in education with local knowledge and expertise.
  • $44m for expanded facilities at the Latrobe Regional Hospital.
  • 10 new beds in Traralgon to provide more support for young people experiencing mental health challenges.
  • An Eating Disorders A treatment program that people attend for the day but then go programin regional Victoria.
  • $5.7 million into the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies initiative – available at nine locations across regional Victoria.
  • $5.4m over three years to establish a mental health, alcohol and other drugs emergency department hub at Ballarat Base Hospital, beginning in 2026.
  • $55.2m in 2024-25 supporting Victoria’s health workforce, which will provide support for nurses and midwives in regional Victoria.

We also welcome the investment in disaster clean-up and recovery, and road infrastructure.

  • $964m to maintain Victoria’s road network, including extra funding to clean up flood damage.
  • An extra $100m to repair roads, including pavements, infrastructure and fixing landslips.
  • $302m to help community recovery from the bushfires and storms.

While rural and regional areas will benefit from some of the larger budget announcements across education and health, there are concerns hospital mergers will disproportionately impact access for rural and regional communities.

This may disproportionately impact young people, many who already face significant barriers accessing basic health and other community services due to longer waitlists, service gaps, expensive travel costs, and limited or no access to public transport.

Public transport funding of $41.2m for more trains more often has been announced. This includes to continue additional train timetable services across regional Victoria, and weekday return services for the Warrnambool and Echuca lines. But further investment in rural and regional public transport is urgently needed.

YACVic will continue to call on government to fully invest in regional and rural public transport infrastructure to ensure young people have equitable access to the services, supports and networks they need to thrive.

Disaster resilience

Funding for emergency services is welcome, as Victoria faces increasing climate disasters.

  • $10.2m over four years for the Future Drought Fund.
  • $37.5m over four years to reduce the risks of floods in a changing climate.
  • $441.3m in 2024-25 for Fire and Emergency Management.

But more must be done to address the increasing number of climate disasters in Victoria.

The government must continue to invest in Work done in the local community, by the local community. community-scale climate adaptation and resilience, with increased dedicated resources for young people to contribute to disaster recovery and prevention plans.

Climate change

Climate change is a key priority for young people in Victoria. The government continues to provide much-needed support to communities affected by climate disasters in 2022-24, including:

  • $1.7m in 2024-25 to support October 2022 flood recovery.
  • $37.5m in 2024-25 additional recovery support for summer 2023-24 floods and storms.

The government has invested over $30.5m over four years in The ability to adapt and respond well to disasters.disaster resilience and recovery programs, including:

  • $9.8m in 2024-25 for additional relief and immediate recovery support for Victorian bushfires and storms.
  • $9m over four years for ResourceSmart Schools program to embed sustainable behaviours in Victorian school communities.
  • $11.7m over four years to reduce the risks of floods in a changing climate.

The government has announced a number of initiatives to support energy-efficient upgrades to homes – providing Victorians with safer housing, and cutting longer-term energy costs. For young Victorians who rent, energy-efficient subsidies will do little unless there are incentives for landlords to upgrade their homes.

As Victoria experiences increasing climate disaster events, we need stronger preventative measures to ensure communities and young people are not impacted by climate change.

Climate disasters have ongoing impacts on every aspect of a young person’s life, including access to education and employment, and additional stress on physical and mental health.

See what the environment sector says about the budget.

Family violence

While there has been no significant new investment in family violence, we are pleased the government will announce more in the coming weeks to prevent family violence and address toxic masculinity.

In this national crisis, the continuation of family violences services is a welcome relief.

YACVic is pleased funding for the Supporting Young People to Understand Affirmative Consent Program has been extended, delivered through 12 organisations. This means our project Yeah, Nah can continue – a peer-led, co-designed education project that supports young people to understand true affirmative consent.

In this budget we also see:

  • $72m over two years to continue delivering family violence victim-survivor supports.
  • $4m over four years to support embedding the child and young person-focused practice guidance and tools into the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) framework.
  • $42m to continue service delivery for perpetrator case management.

Family violence against young people is high, and where young people use violence they are often People who have had family violence used against them.victim-survivors themselves. There is an urgent need for dedicated, age-appropriate family violence responses and resources for young people.  

We look forward to the government’s pending announcement in this space.

We are pleased to see funding of $39.1m over four years for schools to continue the Respectful Relationships programs.

But as a priority, we urge government to review the confidence, skill level and capacity of schools to deliver this program, particularly in rural and regional areas who are resource-constrained and understaffed.

This is particularly relevant with the current increase of Prejudice and discrimination against women and girls.misogny ; gendered aggression and disrespect towards young women (both physical and online); and the normalisation of non-consensual sexting and early pornography viewing.

We also call for an increased focus on engaging parents and carers in the Respectful Relationships curriculum. This would strengthen understanding of the need and value of the program, as well as to support shared messaging.

See what the family violence sector says about the budget:

Youth justice

The budget contains some positive investments for young people at risk of entering the youth justice system:

  • $28.3m over four years to supporteducation for children involved in or at-risk of involvement in the youth justice system.
  • $6.6m over four years to Victoria Police to expand theYouth Crime Prevention and Early Intervention Project.
  • $28.8m over four years for the community legal sector to support early intervention programs that provide legal assistance for people experiencing hardship.

We are also pleased to see:

  • $112m to continue therapeutic court programs including the Drug Court programs, to address the underlying causes of offending.
  • $71.9m in 2024-25 to operationalise the new Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) for victims of crime – expected to be more trauma-informed than the current Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).

But our government continues to spend significantly more on custodial services and keeping young people in prison, than community-based supports to address the underlying causes of offending.

We are disappointed in the government’s investment of $34m over three years to establish a pilot to monitor young people on bail through electronic monitoring.  We know electronic monitoring does not work to prevent crime. Instead, it further stigmatises young people and sets them up to fail.

Importantly, the government is lagging on its commitment to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility by 2027. They must invest more in alternatives to detention, to support children to take accountability for their behaviour in the community.

Alcohol and other drugs (AOD)

The government has allocated $58.7m over four years as part of the Statewide Action Plan to address alcohol and other drug-related harms across Victoria. This includes:

  • establishment of the Community Health Hub in Melbourne
  • statewide overdose prevention and response helpline
  • naloxone dispensing units
  • funding to the community health sector to improve access to pharmacotherapy services

We are interested to see how this Action Plan supports a targeted, youth-specific and developmentally appropriate response to AOD dependence.

But with only a one per cent increase in AOD funding in 2024-25, this will do little to address rising demand for AOD treatment in Victoria.

We are disappointed the government has:

  • Backed out on its promise to establish a second supervised injecting room in the CBD.
  • Failed to allocate funding for a fixed pill testing site and system for drug-checking across Victoria.

We know investing in these harm-reduction measures are crucial and save young people’s lives.

To strengthen youth AOD support, treatment and service access, we need more family workers, youth practice leads, and youth residential detox beds.

See what the AOD sector says about the budget.


Women’s health is a priority, with $18 million over three years to support 12 women’s health organisations provide preventative health services and community outreach,and $28.8 million over four years to support demand for Maternal and Child Health services.

We also welcome the $10m in 2024-25 supporting GPs through a co-designed grant program, which will promote the accessibility and quality of healthcare provided to young people.

This budget contains significant investment in our hospitals, including funding to expand and upgrade the Monash Medical Centre and Austin Hospital.

While these are necessary upgrades, it is vital rural and regional health services are not left behind; there is concern hospital mergers will impact access. Also, it’s disappointing to see no funding to establish the new hospitals promised in 2018, particularly in rural and regional areas.

Rural and regional young people already face long waiting lists and costly travel to access timely healthcare. We need greater investment in rural and regional health, including investments in regional healthcare workers.


We are pleased to see funding continue to support gambling harm reduction:

  • $165.6m over four years to deliverGambler’s Help Services, community education campaigns and research.

Young people are increasingly exposed to gambling as ‘normal’ – in video games that simulate gambling features, shopping apps and Sportsbet advertising. We hope this funding provides targeted and age-appropriate supports to young people to prevent gambling harms.


This budget makes much-needed investment in Victoria’s education system. As schools continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 on student engagement and teacher workload, funding for mental health and wellbeing support is welcome.

This year’s budget supports teachers with $63.8m over five years to improve school staff mental health and wellbeing support, and $21m for teacher upskilling and training.

Continued investment in education includes:

  • $936.1m over four years to deliver the remaining 16 of 100 new schools by 2026.
  • $37.6m over three years for Senior Secondary Pathways Reform, to support school students who want to complete their secondary school education at TAFE.
  • $23m to improve Vocational Education and Training (VET) at schools – including a pilot program giving students in Year 9 and 10 the opportunity to complete short vocational courses and experience studying at TAFE.
  • $3.6mfor the Living Learning Program, providing flexible education for young people disengaged from education, employment and training, and who live with a mental health condition.
  • $22mfor student support services, including psychologists, speech pathologists, and social workers.
  • $14m for mental health care in schools, including free face to face and phone counselling services delivered by headspace.
  • $6m invested to extend the Get Active Kids Vouchers, providing parents with vouchers up to $200.
  • $10.3m in 2024-25 for advanced professional training to teachers and leaders.

The government will promote equal access to education by providing ongoing funding over four years:

  • $11.7m in place-based education and wellbeing programs – including the Geelong Project.
  • $70.9m over five years supporting senior secondary completion in non-school settings.

Continued investment for both students and teacher mental health and wellbeing is an excellent first step.

We welcome funding for TAFE and VET courses, which will provide young people with greater opportunities to develop job-ready skills. And investments in curriculum and place-based support for regional and rural young people will support young people to remain engaged with education.

Victorian teachers and schools need far more resources to create safe and accessible learning environments. The government must invest in A way of working with young people that acknowledges how trauma may have impacted their life.trauma-informed, student-centred and flexible learning environments. This would help schools identify early those students who need extra support so they can thrive at school.

Scaling up youth workers in schools would provide this When services work together to support a young person. wraparound support, and assist teachers to engage young people in education.

Out-of-home care

There is no significant new funding for child protection and family services. But, we are pleased to see these initiatives continue:

  • $197.6m over two years to continue family services through the Strong Families, Safe Children initiative – to support early intervention and reduce the number of children and young people requiring more intensive or When children are legally required to live away from their parents. Alternative arrangements could include foster care kinship care, permanent care or residential care.statutory statutory services.
  • $128.1m over four years to deliver child protection and care services.
  • $38.4m over four years to support carers providing When a child lives with a carer who’s not their parents. For example, foster care, kinship care, permanent care, or special needs local adoption placements.home-based care home-based care for children and young people – including continuation of the Care Hub.
  • $8.4m over four years to support education for children in A living arrangement for children or young people who can’t live in their family home. For example, foster care or group homes.out-of-home care– including new LOOKOUT learning advisors.

See what the child, youth, and family services sector say about the budget.


There’s a significant spending reduction on creating and maintaining jobs compared to last budget, largely due to the early conclusion of the Sick Pay Guarantee Pilot Program.

With an increasingly [tooltip title="casualised workforce" text="more workers employed on a casual contract, rather than permanent or part time”]casualised workforce [/tooltip], and many young people working casual or contract work, this is a step backwards for young people’s [tooltip title="financial security" text="having enough money to comfortably cover your monthly expenses, recover from financial setbacks, and save for your future”]financial security [/tooltip].

We are pleased the government has heard the youth sector’s calls to include the Diploma of Youth Work in the Free TAFE scheme. This is part of a broader investment:

  • $394.3m over three years to boost access to vocational training and Free TAFE – now offering over 80 courses.

Other initiatives investing in future workforces through TAFE and training:

  • $11.4m in 2024-25 to continue support for apprentices, trainees and their employers.
  • $112.7m over two years for the TAFE Services fund, to provide student support services, training delivery, and teaching workforce.
  • $31.6m over two years to retain workers in high-priority industries – like upskilling with subsidised training and short courses.

Other funding announcements include:

  • $6.8m over three years to support worker transition and youth employment pathways in the Latrobe Valley.
  • $3.1m in 2024-25 for Wage Inspectorate Victoria to promote fair and safe workplaces – like addressing issues with long service leave and child employment law compliance.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

We are pleased to see the Koorie Youth Council has secured$1.6m over four years to continue their critical work representing and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Other notable investments include:

  • $16.3m over three years to Aboriginal Controlled-Community Organisations (ACCOs) for self-determined Ways to deal with issues outside of court.justice diversionand family violence supports – including the Bramung Jaarn Program.
  • $51m over four years to improve the learning and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in public schools – including increasing Aboriginal-led decision-making in education.
  • $6.8m over two years to extend the Yoorrook Justice Commission as the formal A process of telling Victoria’s true history, from Aboriginal perspectives. This is done with the intention of building a better future together.truth-telling process.
  • $10.8 over four years for Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands to support self-determined cultural safety accreditation scheme in public hospitals, and programs in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations – like the Culture + Kinship Program.
  • $4.4m over four years for the implementation of marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri: the Victorian Aboriginal Health, Medical and Wellbeing Research Accord.
  • $1.6m in 2024-25 for the Aboriginal Metropolitan Ice Partnerships Program to support understanding culture and diversity, and including culturally relevant values in services so they are safe for those who access them.culturally responsive AOD services.
  • Dedicated funding to enable self-determination approaches to end Aboriginal homelessness – including Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort; Every Aboriginal Person has a home – The Victorian Housing and Homelessness Framework.

While we welcome any investment to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to participate in and have control over decisions which affect their livesself-determination and ACCOs, funding in this budget falls well below what’s necessary.

See what Victorian Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations say about the budget.


The budget announced $39.3m over five years invested in a Social Services Regulator, which will merge with the Disability Services Commissioner. The new regulatory body should consult with disabled young people to ensure services are safe and inclusive of their needs.

Here are some of the key investments in disabled young people:

  • $32.8m in 2024-25 to continue and expand support for the Students with Disabilities Transport Program.
  • $15m over two years for the Accessible Buildings Program to upgrade school buildings to be more accessible for disabled students.
  • $24m in 2024-25 for a range of continued disability supports – including Victorian Disability Advocacy Program.
  • $23.1m in 2024-25 for Supports for people with disability outside of the NDIS – including the Home and Community Care Program for Young People.

We are disappointed to see limited investment to support disabled young people feel safe and included at school. Currently, 48.9% of disabled students do not receive adequate support.

Alongside fully funding state recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission, we need targeted investment to strengthen access and inclusion at school. For example, training for teachers, and more flexible learning environments. Crucially, this must use co-design methods with disabled students to ensure their voices and expertise are included.

Migrant and refugee communities

As a positive first step we strongly welcome the modest investment of $4m over two years for anti-discrimination measures, that will contribute towards Victoria’s first anti-racism strategy.

The government has also invested in:

  • $45.5m over four years for English as an Additional Language Program to support school students to learn English.  
  • $4.4m over three years support for newly arrived migrant communities – like Community Hubs and Refugee Legal.
  • $5.2 over four years for Victoria’s African communities Action Plan – like employment and AOD outreach.
  • $4.4m over one year to deliver healthcare to refugees and asylum seekers who are not eligible for Medicare and other supports.

This year’s budget contains some funding to support early intervention and prevention in youth justice – but nothing specific for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

To reduce the When officials overuse criminal responses to people, instead of community support programs.over criminalisation and overrepresentation of this group in the youth justice system, the government must urgently invest in more targeted, place-based, and culturally safe supports.

See what the multicultural youth sector says about the budget.


Trans and gender diverse (TGD) young people are increasingly the target of media discrimination. Public discrimination influences access to, and the provision of, safe and supportive educational and medical settings.

With the overrepresentation of trans and gender diverse young people in housing, mental health, and health services, more needs to be done to provide protections and resources to meet their needs.

We welcome the announcement of $2m over four years to deliver access to trans and gender diverse health services, including gender affirming care. But we must build on this support with new policies to ensure public spaces are safe and inclusive for all TGD young people, to increase visibility of safe spaces.

This year’s budget includes continued funding of:

  • $2.5m over three years for Equality for LGBTIQA+ communities.
  • $11.2m over one year for LGBTIQA+ equality policy and programs.

We hope the government builds on these initiatives by funding The process of improving knowledge, skills and resources.capacity-building for workers in the education and health sector on LGBTIQA+ identities and specific needs, and act on delivering Victoria’s gender equality strategy Our Equal State.

Creative industries

In April 2024, we were pleased to hear the government announced the Live Music Festivals Fund with an investment of $10m to support our live music venues and festivals – providing Victoria’s live music scene with a much-needed boost.

In this budget there have been some additional modest investments in the arts:

  • $1m over one year to continue the Music Works program, supporting Victoria’s contemporary music sector.
  • $4.5m over three years to continue Victoria’s contribution to the National Performing Arts Partnerships Framework.
  • $6.5m over four years to support creative festivals and events across Victoria.
  • $82.1m for Victoria’s cultural and creative agencies to support operating capacity and program delivery.

Find out what Creative Victoria says about this budget.

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