Next Steps for Equality: 2020 Budget Submission
Budgets are about people, and the choices we make about the kind of society we want to live in.
As Victorians, we are privileged to live in a progressive state that prides itself on inclusivity and fairness.
The Andrews government has implemented many positive reforms to advance equality.
But, many people are still struggling to make ends meet or access the support they need.
It’s time for our next steps. Here’s how we can keep building a fair and thriving community:
- Our government must make sure that all Victorians have a safe, stable, affordable home. This means we need a significant increase in public and community housing, and community lawyers must be funded to help tenants exercise their rights.
- Women experiencing family violence must be able to access legal support. While the Andrews government is leading the way on addressing family violence, community legal centres are still not funded to support people seeking safety and justice.
- Children should be in school and with their families – not in prison. We must raise the age of criminal responsibility, and commit to a plan to closing children’s prisons.
Our communities need support, not punishment. People experiencing mental health problems, poverty or homelessness must not face criminalization. Prison is not the answer.
In the next 12 months, nearly half of all Victorians will have a legal problem.
Family violence survivors will be 10 times more likely than other community members to have legal problems.
People experiencing mental health issues will make up a significant percentage of people seeking legal help.
Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal Legal Services in Victoria are experiencing unprecedented demand, but are being forced to turn away many of those who need support due to chronic underfunding.
All Victorians deserve the chance to access justice when they need it.
The state government must commit to secure, long-term funding for the legal assistance sector.
Without it, people cannot stand up to dodgy landlords, can’t break free of debts left by an abusive partner, and people with mental health issues end up in prison instead of getting support.
The Andrews government has an opportunity to make sure that Victoria remains a state to be admired.
A state where people can access justice, fight for their rights, and receive the support they need.