Inclusive communities for people with disability, older people and carers.

A VCOSS guide to what’s being funded, what’s missing out and where the 2019 budget might take Victoria.

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Inclusive communities provide people with an opportunity to develop relationships, participate actively, and be independent.

For people with disability, older Victorians and carers, inclusion means reducing barriers to participation—such as improving physical access to our buildings and transport system, and delivering information and services in a timely and accessible way—as well as addressing the negative attitudes and discrimination that can result in decreased opportunities, exclusion and abuse.

With significant changes to service systems taking place, like the NDIS and the aged care system, the Victorian Government has a critical role to play in ensuring services are accessible and support is available for people when it is needed. Safeguards also need to be maintained and strengthened to promote safety and prevent violence.

Important commitments have been made by the Government in many of these areas, with the release of the Victorian Carer Strategy and the Disability Advocacy Futures Plan in 2018. This year’s state budget provides some funding for key initiatives but much more is needed to address entrenched barriers or exclusionary community attitudes. Additionally there are critical service gaps emerging in the transition to the NDIS and the aged care reforms. The Victorian Government needs to invest further to ensure people with disability, ageing Victorians and carers get the support they need and can live good lives in their communities.

An ongoing commitment to genuine inclusion—through secure and appropriate funding—is required to ensure all Victorians can participate in our rich community life.


Positive initiatives

Caring for carers

As announced before the 2018 state election, there is welcome investment to deliver a package of support for carers, including an additional 100,000 hours of respite care each year, access to public transport travel concessions and free public transport for carers during National Carers Week, and grants for carer support groups. Eligibility for respite care has been expanded to include carers of people experiencing mental illness and younger carers.
Cost: $12.3m in 2019/20 ($49.5m/4 years)


Multicultural aged care

Facility upgrades will be delivered at seven multicultural aged care properties around greater Melbourne. Funding is also provided to purchase land for three additional facilities.
Cost: $5.4m in 2019/20


Disability worker registration scheme

Funding has been allocated in 2019/20 for the implementation of the Disability Worker Registration Scheme (a new scheme legislated through the Disability Services Safeguards Act which passed Victorian Parliament last year). This includes establishing a Disability Worker Registration Board and Disability Worker Commission. Ongoing funding will be required to deliver the Scheme once it has been established.
Cost: $9.5m in 2019/20


Everybody Matters: inclusion and equity*

Funding provided through the Everybody Matters initiative will be used to support people with disability who have experienced family violence, through Orange Door services. The program also provides funding to assist family violence services to provide additional support to LGBTI victim survivors.
Cost: $0.9m in 2019/20 ($5.8m/4 years)


Supporting vulnerable children in need*

This funding package covers a number of measures to assist children who are unable to live with their families. It includes support for children with significant disability support needs who require residential care or a facility-based shared care placement. These forms of support are not currently provided through the NDIS.
Cost: $26.9m in 2019/20 ($41m/2 years)


Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy*

In a welcome move, the Victorian Government will develop a Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy to investigate the design and construction of accessible tram stops, and to prioritise tram stop upgrades. VCOSS is pleased to see work begin on systematic planning and sequencing of tram stop upgrades to maximise access for all Victorians, and hopes to see the strategy backed by dedicated, long-term funding.
Cost: $3.1m in 2019/20


Further strategies

This year’s Budget delivers some key elements to support Victorians with disability, older people and carers, but more must be done to build inclusion and stop gaps emerging as our service landscape changes.

Ensure the voices of people with disability are heard

In particular, greater support for the disability advocacy sector is urgently needed. Many agencies report that their waiting lists are currently closed as demand far exceeds available supply. The increase in core funding and other funding opportunities provided through the Victorian Disability Advocacy Futures Plan will expand advocacy in the short term, but greater certainty and increased capacity is needed in the longer term as the NDIS becomes more established across Victoria.


Improve transport access

Increasing the accessibility of our public transport system should also be a priority for the Victorian Government. An accessibility audit of the complete public transport system and a long-term program of accessibility improvements would complement the Government’s significant investment in transport infrastructure and ensure our transport systems work for all Victorians.


* Indicates the initiative is also included under other policy areas.


More VCOSS analysis
Read the VCOSS media release
Watch the VCOSS Treasurer's Breakfast
Real Spending Changes Table