Victorian State Budget 2024-25: Sustaining core supports in tight budget

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen has delivered her first Budget, clearly marking out families with measures to address cost-of-living pressures as key priorities. In what was anticipated to be a harsh budget, this budget has sustained core programs, but missed an opportunity to further invest in social cohesion and community building initiatives to deal with the fallout of current economic and social unrest.

CMY acknowledges the Government’s investment over the next two years towards anti-discrimination measures that will advance Victoria’s first Anti-Racism Strategy, to be released later this year. 

“This is a landmark commitment that we hope will go some way to addressing the devastating impacts of racism in our community, which we have seen worsen during this cost-of-living crisis. Social cohesion and inclusion is at the heart of what makes Victoria a successful multicultural community, so we are keen to see the details of this strategy and support its roll-out,” said CMY CEO, Carmel Guerra.

We also welcome continued investment in our multicultural communities, including:

  • continuation of African Communities Action Plan, including funding for up to 30 School Community Liaison Officers and homework clubs;
  • funding for Community Hubs and Refugee Legal to support newly-arrived communities;
  • targeted funding to strengthen participation of multicultural children and young people in school and early childhood education; and 
  • increased funding for community language schools.

The cost-of-living support to families is an important part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to education that will, along with other measures, promote student engagement and success. We would like to highlight: 

  • a $400 School Saving Bonus once-off payment for families to cover school-related costs;
  • increased funding to deliver more breakfast clubs in schools across the state;
  • growing the Glasses for Kids program, which provides vision testing and glasses for primary students; 
  • boost to schools workforce and mental health and wellbeing support, including employment of 50 new student mental health support staff across Victoria;
  • continued funding for the Living Learning program to address disadvantage through the provision of integrated mental health support in schools;
  • support to young people to complete year 12 and take up vocational opportunities, through the Senior Secondary Pathways Reform; and 
  • continued funding for the Respectful Relationships program teaching children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.

More information on how these measures will support Victorian families is available here.

Despite recognising the significant attempts made in this budget to slow down spending amid high inflation and workforce shortages, CMY is disappointed to see the Sick Pay Guarantee pilot and the Youth Empower grants discontinued. 

We are also concerned about the further delays in committing to addressing critical homelessness and housing needs for young Victorians. There is no youth housing strategy, and we call for one urgently. 

CMY is pleased to see Koorie Youth Council funded for a further four years to continue their critical work ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are represented and have their voices heard across policy areas that affect young people. 

The funding for family violence intervention and support of family violence victim survivors, including specialist support for those on temporary visas, is also much-needed. We hope that initiatives funded will address some of the existing barriers victim survivors face in accessing culturally-responsive support services to keep them and their families safe. 

We welcome $34.4 million as a significant investment in the Youth Justice system to enhance bail supervision and monitoring. Enhancing bail support is crucial but we are concerned about the introduction of the electronic monitoring system for a group of young offenders. As multicultural young people are overrepresented in our justice system, we would like to see extensive consultation with the sector to advise on the pilot program design and ensure safe and appropriate implementation.

Despite a difficult budget, CMY is pleased to see the Government has sustained a range of critical programs, while making important investments in anti-racism initiatives and improving educational outcomes for multicultural young people and their families. 

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Victorian Government to support the delivery of these initiatives. It is imperative that the diverse voices and experiences of multicultural young people are drawn upon to help shape initiatives designed to build a better, more inclusive future for all children and young people in our state,” said CMY CEO Carmel Guerra. 

To learn more about the Victorian State Budget 2024-25 released today, visit:

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