The Victorian 2022 State Budget included major expenditure on health expenditure, COVID-19 recovery, education and employment related matters.
There were particularly substantial investments in health, including the government’s COVID-19 repair plan, including a new Melton Hospital, new mental health beds in Sunshine and Northern Hospitals, additional resources to support ambulance/emergency response, significant investments in additional health workforce and nearly $700 million to expand ‘Better at Home’ to support people receiving care at home rather than remaining in hospital.
The budget includes $1.3 billion for mental health services, which included funds for additional mental health workforce and a range of other reform priorities being implemented as part of the Victorian Government’s mental health reform agenda. This included a Strengthening community-based services initiative, which includes an 18-month pilot for a peer call-back service for families, carers and supporters caring for people experiencing suicidal behaviour. Carers Victoria will seek further information about how this will be implemented.
Some of the other broad investments that may be of general interest and relevance to carers include:
- $250 payment to every Victorian household from July 1 after using Victorian Energy Compare as a strategy to help tackle cost of living pressures.
- Five days of personal leave or carers leave at national minimum wage for people in eligible occupations who work casually or on contracts.
- $158 million for accessibility and safety upgrades of public transport.
- Over $15 million to implement Victoria’s State Disability Plan.
- Over $11 million to implement the whole of government LGBTIQ+ Strategy.
- $326 million towards upgrading special schools.
Funding to continue the Carer Pathways into Employment for Unpaid Carers program was the key carer-specific initiative funded in the 2022 Budget. This forms part of a $3 million new initiative called ‘Ageing Well in Victoria –Social recovery for older Victorians and carers’.
In its first year, this program has funded a range of projects to deliver tailored employment support for carers and create pathways into employment within the targeted disability, community services and aged care sectors and Carers Victoria understands the funding will support continuation of the initiative in 2022-23.
If you have queries about the Victorian State Budget and its implications for carers, please contact the Community Development Team on Community.Development@carersvictoria.org.au