Keeping communities safe

Every Victorian deserves to have confidence that when they need help, it’s never far away.

Victorian SES people working on a site

With this Budget, the Victorian Government builds on our strong record of investment to keep communities safe: funding the services, tools and technology our first responders need.

This Budget also includes help for those who need it most – including women and children escaping family violence.

Responding to and recovering from emergencies

Devastating bushfires, floods and natural disasters have become more common, and our reliance on hardworking first responders will only continue to grow.

This summer alone, the Victoria State Emergency Service responded to over 10,000 requests for assistance.

As we confront increasingly intense and rapidly changing weather conditions, we are not only helping communities rebuild – we’re investing to prepare and respond to future natural disasters.

In this Budget, we are supporting communities recently affected by catastrophic weather events, with $302 million to help them rebuild and recover. This includes repairs to schools, roads and other infrastructure, as well as temporary accommodation, relief payments and mental health support for residents who need help with the aftermath.

This Budget also invests in our future emergency management response with more than $50 million, including:

  • $25 million to support the State Control Centre, ensuring it can keep running as the heart of our emergency responses.
  • $9.5 million to ensure Victorians and emergency service organisations have the most up-to-date emergency information, advice and warnings.
  • $9.1 million for Life Saving Victoria to continue its critical water safety program, including rescue helicopter, watercraft and drone services.
  • $6.9 million to our State Emergency Service, backing the work of our incredible volunteers.

Preparing and protecting our state from fire

Every summer, we see the immense ferocity of fire.

This Budget bolsters our state’s capability to prevent, prepare and respond to fire. This $105 million investment includes:

  • $51 million for fuel management, firefighting activities and bushfire prevention across the state.
  • $34 million for new fire trucks for the Country Fire Authority and Fire Rescue Victoria, including those with specialist aerial capabilities for built-up areas, supporting our firefighters on the frontline.
  • $20 million to maintain critical bushfire response infrastructure, including replacing and renewing machinery and upgrading fire access roads.

Strengthening and supporting our justice system

Our justice system plays a critical role in responding to the needs of victims and ensuring offenders are held to account.

Building on our existing investments, this Budget includes $212 million to continue to strengthen our justice system, prevent crime and reduce reoffending, with:

  • $112 million to support the work of our alcohol and drug courts in their use of intensive, individualised and evidence-based treatment programs to address the underlying issues that cause or contribute to offending.
  • $34 million to trial electronic monitoring of serious, high-risk young offenders on bail.
  • $28 million to connect young people in or at-risk of entering the justice system with education.
  • $6.6 million to expand the Youth Crime Prevention and Early Intervention Project to more suburbs – a project run by Victoria Police in Brimbank and Wyndham that is helping young people at risk of offending.

Protecting children and supporting families

Every child deserves to grow up happy and healthy.

As a government, we’re working hard to strengthen our child protection system to keep families together and make sure every child has every chance to thrive.

This Budget builds on that commitment, with $374 million to protect children and support their families, including:

  • $198 million for early intervention services to help keep families together and prevent children and young people entering care.
  • $128 million to support the child protection workforce to keep children safe and help those families who are most in need.
  • $38 million to support carers providing home-based care for children and young people.

Victorian redress for historical abuse and neglect in institutional care

In February this year, we formally apologised to Victorians who experienced abuse and neglect as children in institutional care prior to 1990.

This Budget includes $165 million to deliver redress for these Victorians.

This represents the next step in righting these wrongs – and our continued commitment to doing more and doing better to protect Victoria’s children: past, present, and future.

Supporting survivors of family and sexual violence

The Royal Commission into Family Violence made 227 recommendations to keep women and children safe, and we have implemented every one of them. That includes channelling investment of more than $3.8 billion to prevent and respond to family violence.

We have also made important strides towards changing the way sexual violence is dealt with in Victoria, including adopting an affirmative consent model and stronger laws to target image-based sexual abuse.

But when it comes to keeping women and children safe, there is more to do.

This year’s Budget delivers a further $211 million, including:

  • $42 million for perpetrator case management, helping to keep perpetrators in view and keep victims safe, as well as creating specialised programs for diverse cohorts, including Aboriginal Victorians.
  • $39 million to continue our landmark Respectful Relationships program, which aims to help prevent violence before it starts by teaching young people how to develop respectful and healthy relationships.
  • $38 million for specialist support, including case management and support packages for victim survivors on temporary visas.
  • $30 million to operate refuges and provide emergency accommodation for families escaping violence.
  • $24 million in the Central Information Point to help frontline family violence practitioners work together and share information to keep women and children safe.
  • $16 million to support Aboriginal women and families experiencing family violence, and culturally appropriate youth justice diversion and family violence support to reduce First Nations peoples’ interactions with the justice system.
  • $9.2 million to strengthen and upskill the workforce, including staff at Sexual Assault Services Victoria and training for workforces who interact with victim survivors.
  • $6.8 million for financial counselling services for family violence victim survivors, providing support to stabilise their financial position and recover from abuse.

Addressing homelessness

Every Victorian deserves the dignity of a safe and secure place to call home.

This Budget provides $197 million for accommodation and support services to give Victorians experiencing homelessness just that.

Our investment will support Victorians we know are at higher risk of homelessness, including young people, older women, people with complex health needs, and families.

This includes $45 million to expand the Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion program to end chronic homelessness. This program will provide long-term, stable accommodation, as well as three years of intensive wrap around support to get people back on their feet – and generate at least $95 million of financial and economic benefits in the longer term.

Food support for families who need it

Fruit and vegetables packaged in boxes

No one should have to worry about putting food on the table for their family.

But right now, with the cost of living, more and more Victorians are relying on the help of our food relief organisations.

This Budget helps support and strengthen their work with a $4.6 million investment.

That includes $2 million to help make sure food relief organisations can continue responding to local needs and $1.5 million to support food hubs across regional Victoria in Albury–Wodonga, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Shepparton and Warrnambool.

Funding of $1.1 million will provide food relief to support tenants living in high-rise social housing.