The 2019-2020 Victorian State budget contains some welcome announcements particularly for rural and regional young Victorians, according to the state peak body for young people and the youth sector, Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic).
“This budget takes great steps in recognising the additional barriers that young people who live in rural and regional areas face such as isolation, access to transport, health services and education” says Katherine Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of YACVic.
“We welcome the continuation of the Regional Presence Project which employs youth workers across Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Morwell and Ballarat to help young people be connected, supported and empowered by the community.
“It is fantastic to also see the government invest in our young people’s health. The Mental Health in Schools program will ensure every state secondary school receives support from a mental health professional.
“Providing free sanitary items and breakfast clubs will support student’s health and well-being at school.”
YACVic also welcomes the Victorian government’s commitments to funding programs which assist Victoria’s most marginalised young people.
The commitment to offer free TAFE for people studying youth work for another year, and provide new Social Services higher apprenticeships will mean more young Victorians are supported more than ever.
The new $3 million in grants to help LGBTIQ+ young people at risk of homelessness access shelter and support, will mean more young people are supported by the community.
YACVic welcomes the government’s $10 million for the New Hope (Gippsland) building a new 20-bed youth residential rehabilitation facility in Gippsland for young people aged 16-21 to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
“We encourage the government to continue funding initiatives which keep young people in schools and communities, not prisons” said Ms Ellis.
“This includes early intervention initiatives and an embedded youth outreach program where police work with youth workers to provide support for vulnerable young people and prevent possible re-offending.”
Other key announcements from the state budget include:
- Free dental care to be provided from 2019 Term 3 in state primary and secondary schools
- On-going funding for Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Grants which are administered by YACVic
- An additional $400,000 in the Marram Nganyin Aboriginal mentoring project, delivered in partnership by YACVic and Koorie Youth Council
- Expanding the Le Mana program to support young people from Pacific Islander communities become more engaged, socially connected and on positive pathways, in partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth, local government, and the United Pasifika Council of Victoria
Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager, 0438 638 734, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO is available for comment.