What does the Victorian State Budget mean for people with disability?

Posted 1 year ago by David McManus
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Following the Federal Budget 2023 – 2024, Victorians across the state kept their eyes peeled for the latest announcement. (Source: Shutterstock)
Following the Federal Budget 2023 – 2024, Victorians across the state kept their eyes peeled for the latest announcement. (Source: Shutterstock)

$320 million will go towards updating seven hospitals throughout the state through serious funding for greater support and staffing and $46 million dollars will be allocated to training paramedics and helping them to upskill for urgent emergency care.

Key points:

  • Healthcare was of significant importance in the latest State Budget, which followed through with the promise of free nursing tuition
  • The Victorian Government borrowed billions of dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic and aim to recoup the costs over the next decade
  • Taxation will hit property owners, big businesses and the gambling industry hard, with the State Treasurer referring to the delivery of the budget as “difficult”

 

Previous fears from Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) about funding cuts to their support program for unpaid aged and disability carers have been heard by the State Government, with a $38 million dollar pledge to continue funding.

Although it wasn’t quite the $42 million dollars sought by VMCH to renew ongoing commitments, it will go a long way in maintaining the almost $78 billion a year in unpaid support.

Additionally, mental health is a major concern for the State Government, having dedicated $5.7 billion to address the Mental Health Royal Commission recommendations over the past three Budgets and $91 million dollars this year to deliver community-based mental health programs across 50 different local services.

$235 million will go towards students with disability and their families, along with expanding out of school hours care availability to accommodate their needs and devoting $270 million to make nursing tuition free for people in the state — in the hope of encouraging more people to provide support across the 20 different hospitals which are either built or upgraded using money allocated in 2023 – 2024.

For Victorians who are unable or unwilling to drive, $190 million will be used to cap public transport fares at the metro rate, with more information about public transport in the state available through the Disability Support Guide. A further $601 million will be spent to build 23 VLocity trains, and $219 million will go towards morel V-Line services, including extra weekend services on major regional train lines. Similarly, $32 million will be set aside for the Students with Disabilities Transport Program, which provides transport assistance for students with disability to attend specialist schools.

Other election promises of note, which were confirmed in the Budget, include:

  • $25 million to build therapeutic pools at specialist schools.
  • $7.5 million to bring more speech pathologists and occupational therapists to regional communities
  • $7.3 million for Technical and Further Education (TAFE) transition officers to help students with disability
  • $6.3 million for more extracurricular activities in specialist schools
  • $4.8 million to continue providing therapy animals into the public school community
  • $3.8 million to get more disability workers into rural and regional areas
  • $3 million to help the Association for Children with Disability
  • $1.7 million to help healthcare workers improve communication for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)

The opposition have taken a strong stance on the increased land tax that many homeowners face to pay off COVID-associated debt, saying that the people who will feel the brunt of these taxes will be the renters themselves — as landlords increasingly hike up rent to offset the extra costs.