Victorian Budget – one off payments are not a recipe for reform

8 May 2024

Whilst the Brotherhood of St. Laurence acknowledges the 2024-2025 Victorian Budget has been shaped by difficult economic and fiscal conditions requiring tough State Government decisions, we are disappointed there was not more attention on system reforms needed to help those doing it toughest.

The highlights were the welcome focus on acute financial challenges being faced by many Victorians, the preservation of vital community services, the investment in our hospitals and priority being given to families and women experiencing gendered violence and homelessness.

Although we recognise the $400 School Saving Bonus will be a welcome relief to thousands of Victorian families, one off payments like these which are not means tested are simply not a recipe for reform – especially when the Budget also confirmed a slower start to the Best Start, Best Life universal preschool reforms, and to the rollout of Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals.

Long-term investment and reform – particularly in areas like the early years, education, mental health and employment – offer greater returns over the long run for all Victorians, particularly those experiencing poverty and disadvantage. Similarly, the piloting of the Sick Pay Guarantee was intended to address the systemic holes in our safety net that COVID exposed for casual workers.

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is disappointed the Victorian Government has slowed down or stepped away from these reform opportunities.

We remain committed to working with the Victorian Government to elevate attention on poverty reduction, present evidence to improve the services Victorians rely on as part of the Early Intervention Investment Framework and help to develop new approaches that empower all Victorians to live the lives they aspire to.

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Steph Jones, Media and Communications Manager -