Investing in Local Communities

The 2018–19 Victorian State Budget promises a number of key announcements to benefit young people and local communities around the state.

Delivering for Neighbourhood Houses
The Andrews Labor Government will invest an additional $21.8 million in Victoria’s neighbourhood houses over four years so that more families can access the activities and services they need and want, closer to home.

This investment includes the biggest ever boost to coordination hours, with an extra 76,700 hours to be delivered each year to more houses across the state. Many existing houses will get additional hours.

The funding boost will also allow mobile neighbourhood house networkers to spend more time with individual houses to improve access to key services and activities across the system.

As a result, they’ll get an additional 4,500 hours working with individual houses.

The Labor Government’s record investment in extra coordination hours is almost eight times more than what was delivered under the previous Liberal Government.

Energy relief to families in need
The Budget also provides $21.7 million to increase the Utility Relief Grant cap from $500 to $650 – helping households and families suffering unexpected hardship, like losing a job, pay their water, gas or electricity bills.

Work is already underway on a number of the report’s recommendations, including protections for low income and vulnerable customers, and a new brokerage service.

The Government’s final response to the Review will be released later this year.
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To further support Victoria’s volunteers, the sector will get an additional $500,000 to make it easier for people to volunteer – which is often a pathway to employment.

These measures fulfil the strategic priorities of the Ministerial Council of Volunteers, which aims to improve volunteering processes and create equity, as well as further opportunities for the sector.

Youth Affairs
The Andrews Labor Government believes every young person should have the opportunities and support they need to reach their full potential.

Recognising that many young people face disadvantage and have a range of diverse needs we have allocated $5.2 million for a number of early intervention programs.

This funding includes the establishment and operation of three Community Support Groups which use a community-led approach to engage young people and their families and respond to local issues associated with youth disengagement.

The Labor Government is also empowering more young people to achieve their goals by providing them with pathways to employment, education, training and community with a further $2 million over four years to expand the Empower Youth Program.

This funding boost will allow a further four organisations to support disengaged young people in areas with high levels of socio-economic disadvantage and crime, through dedicated youth workers and connections with community mentors.

Fifteen youth workers have already been employed at eight organisations since the program started, supporting up to 400 people across Victoria.

The investment made in the Youth Affairs portfolio builds on our Youth Policy: Building stronger youth engagement in Victoria and strengthens the engagement and empowerment of young people across the state.