My role as the Shadow Minister for Children & Young Adults, Seniors & Ageing and Youth Justice is to hold this government accountable for the services it provides to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable residents.
Shadow Minister for Children & Young Adults
Under Labor, new integrated children’s centres were established, increased places and support for children with a disability or developmental delay were provided and kindergarten subsidies for low-income families were increased. There is no dedicated funding in this year’s state budget to continue Labor’s popular program of building new children’s centres across Victoria. These centres co-locate kindergarten, long daycare, maternal and child health services, early intervention and support services and community rooms to support playgroups, parent meetings and other community services.
Victoria is currently experiencing the biggest baby boom in a generation and providing high quality early childhood programs across the State is a key responsibility of government. The Baillieu Government has failed to provide adequate capital funding for children’s facilities across Victoria.
The Bailleu Government have axed funding to the Take-A-Break Occasional Child Care program that will affect 220 neighbourhood houses and early education centres across Victoria. They have cut the free web-hosting services offered by the Victorian State Library, VicNet, to run kindergarten websites. They have cut the Young Reader program that encouraged parents to read to their young children. The Baillieu government is failing to support programs that have proved beneficial to families with young children.
Victoria’s young people should be encouraged to participate in volunteering and decision making about issues that will impact on their future.
A number of youth programs initiated by the previous Labor Government are now at risk.
The Baillieu government has cut funding for FReeZA Central Intensive Workshops, which provided young people opportunities for individual skill development and encouraged them to stage musical performances. They have also axed dedicated funding for youth mentoring programs that will see some programs across Victoria wind up.
Shadow Minister for Seniors & Ageing
Our seniors should also be our most respected community members. Victoria’s ageing population will increase demand for services for senior Victorians, including additional demand for residential and home-based aged care services.
The Baillieu government has ended funding to the Living Stronger, Living Longer program, a weight based training program designed to give seniors an opportunity to keep active, healthy and connected to the community. This demonstrates their lack of understanding of the needs of our seniors.
Shadow Minister for Youth Justice
The Baillieu Government’s plan is to lock-up more young people, ignoring the causes of crime.
The previous Labor Government invested in new initiatives to strengthen the response to youth crime across the State. It employed on the ground youth workers to introduce a new behaviour change program for young people and established a rapid response team to work with police dealing with young people in crime hotspots.