In a challenging economic environment, the 2024-25 Victorian Budget mostly maintains youth programs and invests in health, but falls short on crucial support for housing and mental health.

In a climate of increased misogyny, Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) welcomes new funding to continue consent and relationships education, including our peer-led rural program Yeah, Nah.

YACVic CEO Mary Nega says “the programs piloted since the government introduced landmark affirmative consent law reforms have done incredible work in community. We are thrilled the government is committing to a long game of positive social change for young people.

“The government sensibly refunded various youth services, and we celebrate the Koorie Youth Council’s funding extension from a two- to four-year contract. We would have liked longer term contracts across the board – we know that when young people get stable wraparound care, the whole community thrives.”

YACVic welcomes the significant healthcare investments. $31m over four years to treat eating disorders, a regional alcohol and drugs emergency department hub in Ballarat, and initiatives to relieve pressure on hospitals are especially notable for young people.

A boost to the Victorian Homebuyer Fund but no material support for renters further entrenches wealth disparity.

This year also clocks eighteen years of no strategy to address youth homelessness, at a time where young people are 25 per cent of Victoria’s homeless population.

Ms Nega says “these are young people’s homes we’re talking about – their health, safety and dignity. We would like to work with government to develop a Victorian Youth Housing and Homelessness Strategy, co-designed with young people.”

Young people with mental health challenges face housing stress at a critical scale. This budget fails to deliver 500 housing places for these young people, breaking a Mental Health Royal Commission commitment scheduled for this year.

Family violence against young people is high, another unique barrier to secure homes. The government has not addressed the gap in age-appropriate interventions for young people as victim-survivors in their own right.

Other major announcements for young people and youth services:

  • Diploma of Youth Work added to Free TAFE.
  • $4m over two years to get started on an anti-discrimination strategy.
  • Continuation of wraparound support for young people who experience mental health challenges and school disengagement. 
  • The sick pay pilot for casual workers cut 11 months early.
  • In a blow to regions, key youth work program Empower has been cut.
  • Disappointing absence of fixed pill testing site and state-wide system for monitoring drug checking.

“Victoria can be a place where we meet all young people’s essential needs and help them thrive,” says Ms Nega. “Two years into Victoria’s whole-of-government youth strategy, YACVic is eager to work with government to ease pressure on an overburdened support system, with the input of young people along the way.”

Quotes – young people’s responses to the budget

“Another year of no youth homelessness strategy makes me angry, as someone who has experienced youth homelessness. How are young people expected to put school and health and wellbeing as a priority if they’re worried about where they’re going to sleep at night? It’s a basic human right to have a safe place to live.” —Ruby Sait, youth housing advocate

“Children and young people have been identified as ‘agents of generational change’ in the government’s Strong Foundations reform agenda. We are the government’s hope for a future free from violence. However, without increased investment in intervention services that support our healing and recovery, we cannot embody such hope.” —Conor Pall, family violence victim-survivor advocate

“Short-term [rural and regional youth service] contracts mean short-term outcomes. We need to build resilient regional communities – I want to see young people feel safe enough to access youth services without fearing they will be taken away from them.” —Kiah Shadlow, young youth worker in Gippsland


YACVic’s full analysis will be available by Thursday 9 May 2024.

Media contact: Katia Pellicciotta (she/her), YACVic Media and Communications Coordinator – 0498 730 553 or


YACVic CEO Mary Nega (she/her) and Policy & Advocacy Manager Lucy Demant (she/her) available for interviews and analysis.

Young talent also available to discuss impact of budget on their life – request a specific topic.

About YACVic

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12-25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that young people are active, visible and valued in their communities.