In light of, and in response to, the disruptive and tragic outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Social Services Victoria offers this Budget Priorities Discussion Paper and recommendations as input to the 2021/22 Victorian Budget process.
It aims to synthesise and demonstrate the interconnectedness of some of the priority social issues of our time, in light of Government response, spending, Royal Commissions and Senate Inquiries and ongoing community and society needs.
We acknowledge the significant emphasis on those made vulnerable during COVID in the spending associated with the 2020-21 Victorian budget. We need to continue to think deeply and be willing to explore the interconnections of disadvantage and exclusion if we are to make good economic decisions that will see a more just and compassionate society operate in a ‘COVID normal’ context going forward.
We have seen state-sponsored employment, subsidies and grants made available to many sectors and households severely impacted. The challenges that lie ahead are indeed significant, but the response to date by social service organisations, Government, church and community groups have all made an important difference for many who have had their work and usual supports impacted by COVID-19.
We must continue to prioritise those hardest hit, working together to invest in the programs, care responses and jobs that will pay dividends in time of human flourishing and material benefit across the state.