Many people in Victoria experience significant and persistent disadvantage that manifests in disengagement from school, increases in unemployment, homelessness, substance misuse, family violence, contact with the justice system, mental ill-health, and trauma.

These are complex challenges, especially because they intersect, interact, and are often intergenerational.

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to disproportionately impact those who are already marginalised and magnifying many of these challenges. Further, some of the current economic impacts from COVID-19 we are seeing are causing vulnerability to those who previously had not experienced these risks as a consequence of the rising costs of living and housing becoming unaffordable.

The 2023-24 Victorian Budget provides an important opportunity to respond to the further marginalisation of vulnerable communities experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, it can provide a platform for addressing the disproportionate and place-based impacts of climate change, as well as an opportunity for vital criminal justice reform.

Jesuit Social Services welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Victorian Government’s State Budget 2023-24.

Summary of our recommendations:

  • Develop long-term, place-based and systemic approaches addressing persistent disadvantage with community decision-making at the centre, including building community resilience to climate change.
  • Focus more strongly on prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation and restorative justice, and addressing overrepresentation of Aboriginal people and other marginalised groups in the adult and youth criminal justice systems.
  • Strengthen mental health and alcohol and substance services for young people and other vulnerable groups such as new arrivals.
  • Build and provide equitable access to safe, secure, sustainable and energy-efficient housing.
  • Strengthen pathways and reduce barriers to education, training and employment.
  • Resource initiatives engaging with boys and men to prevent violence and other harmful behaviours long-term.

Read the submission